<img decoding="async" width="640" height="427" data-attachment-id="105920" data-permalink="https://scheerpost.com/2024/06/02/israels-stalking-operation-against-the-icc-is-mirrored-in-its-canary-mission-attack-on-us-universities/united_states_secretary_of_state_antony_blinken_greets_israeli_defense_minister_yoav_gallant_in_tel_aviv_israel_on_november_30_2023/" data-orig-file="https://i0.wp.com/scheerpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/United_States_Secretary_of_State_Antony_Blinken_greets_Israeli_Defense_Minister_Yoav_Gallant_in_Tel_Aviv_Israel_on_November_30_2023.jpg?fit=640%2C427&ssl=1" data-orig-size="640,427" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 30, 2023. (Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy)","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="United_States_Secretary_of_State_Antony_Blinken_greets_Israeli_Defense_Minister_Yoav_Gallant_in_Tel_Aviv_Israel_on_November_30_2023" data-image-description="" data-image-caption="

Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 30, 2023. (Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy)

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/scheerpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/United_States_Secretary_of_State_Antony_Blinken_greets_Israeli_Defense_Minister_Yoav_Gallant_in_Tel_Aviv_Israel_on_November_30_2023.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/scheerpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/United_States_Secretary_of_State_Antony_Blinken_greets_Israeli_Defense_Minister_Yoav_Gallant_in_Tel_Aviv_Israel_on_November_30_2023.jpg?fit=640%2C427&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/scheerpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/United_States_Secretary_of_State_Antony_Blinken_greets_Israeli_Defense_Minister_Yoav_Gallant_in_Tel_Aviv_Israel_on_November_30_2023.jpg?resize=640%2C427&ssl=1″ alt=”” class=”wp-image-105920″ style=”width:574px;height:auto” data-recalc-dims=”1″/>

Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 30, 2023. Photo from Wikimedia Commons – Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy.

By Juan Cole / Informed Comment

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Biden administration has signaled that it will not cooperate with a Republican-led effort to place legislative sanctions on the International Criminal Court for having requested warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The move reverses a pledge by Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week to work with Congress against the ICC. Blinken has repeatedly shielded the Netanyahu government from criticism and has declined to undertake basic State Department tasks such as certifying to Congress that Israel is using US weapons in ways consistent with the Geneva Conventions. Somehow President Biden, who has been almost as bad, appears to have been persuaded that sanctioning an international court undermines US policy goals in places like Ukraine.

Netanyahu said in a forthcoming interview, “frankly I’m surprised and disappointed,” according to Politico.

I should think so. Netanyahu, who is on trial on two counts of corruption, operates rather as his namesake, the gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel did in Las Vegas, corrupting or intimidating judges and other officials. Though to be fair to Mr. Siegel, he murdered many fewer people.

The backdrop to the plan of troglodytes in Congress to harass the ICC is that Netanyahu’s government in Israel has run a decade-long campaign of spying and intimidation against the judges of the International Criminal Court, according to an investigation of The Guardian and two Israeli magazines, +972 Mag and Local Call, published by journalists Harry Davies, Bethan McKernan, Yuval Abraham, and Meron Rapoport.

It is important to point out that the same cast of cyber-bullies has run an operation against American universities under the rubric of “Canary Mission,” in coordination with the inquisitorial Ministry of Strategic Affairs. headed by the American Ron Dermer. So reported James Bamford in The Nation. Canary Mission smears and doxes students and professors at American universities who stand for Palestinian rights in an attempt to interfere with their careers and for the purpose of intimidating them and others into silence.

Both operations are Israeli government-inspired but aided by local agents. Despite the US federal law, FARA, which requires agents of foreign governments to register, Israeli such agents have been exempted from such requirements for political reasons, including Canary Mission and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The International Criminal Court was envisioned by the internationally-backed Rome Statute in 1998, which came into effect in 2002. The judges are selected by delegates from the 124-member states of the Conference of Parties. Canada, Britain, France, Denmark, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland are among the signatories. So the Israelis were spying on and harassing judges chosen by several NATO countries.

Mossad, Israeli intelligence, directed an operation against Fata Bensouda, the former prosecutor of the court, during whose tenure the court found that it had jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territories because Palestine, a non-member observer state of the United Nations, had acceded to the Treaty of Rome in 2015. The Guardian story alleges that Israeli operatives attempted to bribe her, showing up at her private home, to come to a different decision.

Israel’s control of telecommunications in Palestine allowed it to tap into any fact-gathering calls ICC officials made to the Occupied West Bank. Israel intensively spied on Palestinian human rights NGOs sending dossiers to the ICC, using the Pegasus spyware that has so harmed journalists and activists, which was developed by a company with close ties to the Israeli government. Pegasus has been banned in the United States by the Biden administration. At one point, Israeli officials attempted to discredit the Palestinian NGOs working with the ICC by falsely accusing them of having terrorist links. Sound familiar?

Mossad director Mossi Cohen, a close crony of Netanyahu, appears actually to have stalked Bensouda, “turning up unannounced and subjecting her to unwanted calls,” according to Davies et al. Some of the stalking was done in New York, so perhaps the zealous New York City officials who were so concerned with students having tents on campus might open an investigation into an actual crime? Mossad also started a smear campaign against a relative of Bensouda in hopes of discrediting her, an operation that failed.

Her successor, British Prosecutor Karim Khan, said that the ICC under his tenure faced “several forms of threats and communications that could be viewed as attempts to unduly influence its activities.”

As for Canary Mission, Bamford wrote at The Nation, “Like all of Israel’s espionage and covert operations in the United States, Canary Mission’s links to Israeli intelligence—and the Mission’s American financiers—are well hidden. But as a result of a slipup on a tax form a few years ago, those links began to be revealed. And in the process was exposed the role played by one of the wealthiest families in California, headed by publicity-shy billionaire Sanford Diller, a major Trump backer who had donated $6 million to a pro-Trump political committee . . . For donations to a variety of causes, the Diller family maintains the Helen Diller Family Foundation. But in order to get a tax break, they turn the funds over to a much larger trust, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, which then channels the Diller family donations. According to The Forward (formerly The Jewish Daily Forward), in 2016 the Diller Foundation donated $100,000 through the Jewish Community Federation to an obscure Israeli nonprofit called Megamot Shalom. Untraceable, off the grid, unheard of, Megamot Shalom was actually the front for Canary Mission.”

So these individuals donating to Megamot Shalom were breaking the Foreign Agents Registration Act Law, attempting to smear and blackball American professors and students on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs. There is almost certainly a RICO offense here.

These two stalking operations, of ICC judges and of American universities, are intended to allow the large scale theft of Palestinian land by Israeli squatters to proceed unhindered, and to shield Israel from the consequences of its war crimes against the Palestinians. The vicious crackdown on protesters against the genocide in Gaza in US universities is being actively connived at by the Dillers of the world. American parents should be outraged that Trumpie Zionists are conspiring to put their children in jail for having a conscience.

Attorney General Merrick Garland must look into Canary Mission and sanction its donors and agents for FARA violations, not to mention a vast conspiracy to interfere with Americans’ first amendment rights and to libel them. It is coming for our children, for God’s sake.

Please share this story and help us grow our network!

Juan Cole

Juan Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan He is author of, among many other books, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Follow him on Twitter at @jricole or the Informed Comment Facebook Page

ScheerPost is an award-winning, independent news organization that focuses on progressive politics and human rights issues that the mainstream media misses. We make it our mission to bring you the latest...