Republican lawmakers defend Netanyahu, threatening ICC with sanctions if it continues to persecute Israeli officials

Some Democratic representatives also joined their GOP colleagues, positioning themselves against the progressive wing of their party.

Congressional Republicans are threatening the International Criminal Court (ICC) with imminent sanctions should the organization continue its persecution of Israeli officials.

“Israel is fighting a just war for survival, and the ICC is attempting to equate Israeli officials to the evil terrorists who perpetrated the October 7th massacre,” Michael Johnson, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, declared on Monday. He continued, “In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress is reviewing all options, including sanctions, to punish the ICC and ensure its leadership faces consequences if they proceed.”

Johnson’s words come just as Karim Khan, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), this Monday requested the arrest of the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, for his management of the Israeli-led offensive against the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

In the same announcement, the ICC ordered the arrests of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, Hamas military wing commander Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh.

In addition to Johnson, several congressional Republicans strongly questioned the ICC for equating Israel’s “self-defense” with Hamas’ terrorist attacks, promising harsh sanctions against court officials.

For example, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham declared that he will “feverishly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to levy damning sanctions against the ICC.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement that “Khan’s kangaroo court has no jurisdiction in Israel to pursue these anti-Semitic and politically motivated ‘charges,’” and will therefore seek to ensure that Khan, his associates and family members do not “set foot again in the United States.”

Some Democratic lawmakers, positioning themselves against progressive voices in their party, also joined Republicans in criticizing the ICC announcement.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) called the arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant “retribution against Israel for the original sin of existing as a Jewish State and the subsequent sin of defending itself amid the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”

According to Axios, the House of Representatives could vote this week to apply sanctions against the ICC. This situation will once again confront the Democrats allied with Israel and the most progressive wing of the party, which is clearly positioned in favor of Palestine and has adopted an anti-Semitic stance throughout the war in Gaza.

In addition to Torres, other Democrats, such as Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman, stated that there is no equivalence between Israel and Hamas and that equating them “demonstrates the ICC’s gaping moral failure.”

The harsh criticism against the organization comes after various members of Congress tried for weeks to prevent the ICC’s prosecution of Israeli officials, in an effort that ended up failing and now, according to the White House itself, leads to one more obstacle to achieving a long-awaited ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of hostages.