In September 2001, more than 1,500 political NGOs convened in Durban for the World Conference against Racism and adopted a resolution calling for a “policy of complete and total isolation of Israel,” citing war crimes, genocide, human rights violations and more.
This network of NGOs has worked ceaselessly to bring this strategy to fruition. Its leaders include Palestinian human rights groups as well as Israeli NGOs, together with many extremist European groups. These organizations have “bombed” the ICC prosecutor, the media, diplomats and policymakers with press releases, reports and legal memos accusing Israel of war crimes and international law violations.
The current ICC effort against Israel has everything to do with the ongoing war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, headed by William Schabas, who is well known for his ties to anti-Israel organizations. Following the failure of the 2009 Goldstone commission (which investigated Operation Cast Lead in Gaza), the Schabas report, which will be presented at the U.N. in Geneva on March 23, will serve the NGOs in advancing their efforts against Israel at the ICC.
The Israeli establishment has largely ignored the role of NGOs in the ongoing legal war against Israel. Even now, after the Palestinian appeal to the ICC, official Israeli responses and the media debate on the issue seems to focus solely on the court. The many factors fueling the legal warfare are still largely unexposed. But as the process advances, the European funding will become more apparent. It is safe to assume that the clash between Israel and the European supporters of the legal warfare against it will be no less dramatic than the battle inside the court.