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Monday, June 24, 2024

George Clooney Contacts White House Over ICC Warrant Against Israeli Officials Amid Gaza Conflict

In May, George Clooney reached out to a top White House official to express his discontent after President Biden criticized the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to seek arrest warrants against senior Israeli officials over actions in Gaza. Clooney’s wife, Amal Clooney, a renowned human rights lawyer, had been involved in the investigation leading to these warrants, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Amal Clooney served on an advisory panel that supported the ICC’s investigation. The court’s investigation resulted in warrants for Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, and three senior Hamas leaders, accusing them of illegal actions responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.

George Clooney’s protest was directed at Steve Ricchetti, a counselor to President Biden, who had been instrumental in Biden’s fundraising efforts four years ago. Despite Clooney’s efforts, U.S. policy remained unchanged, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Clooney’s move to contact the White House, reportedly via a text message, highlights the challenges President Biden faces in balancing his support for Israel with his misgivings and the growing discontent among the American left. This dilemma is further complicated by Clooney’s scheduled appearance at a high-profile fundraiser for Biden in Los Angeles on June 15, which will also feature former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Simon Halls, Clooney’s spokesman, declined to comment on the actor’s interaction with Ricchetti but confirmed Clooney’s intention to attend the fundraiser.

In a statement on her family foundation’s website, Amal Clooney detailed her four-month collaboration with ICC prosecutors, examining evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza. Amal Clooney, originally from Lebanon, has a history of working on high-profile international cases, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the prosecution of Hezbollah members for the assassination of Lebanon’s prime minister in 2005.

Last month, Amal Clooney co-authored an op-ed with other ICC advisory panel members, asserting their investigation had found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Tuesday, the House voted largely along party lines to impose significant sanctions on the ICC, compelling President Biden to restrict entry to the United States, revoke visas, and impose financial restrictions on anyone at the court involved in investigating, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting “protected persons,” or allies of the United States. The measure also targets anyone providing “financial, material or technological support” to these efforts.

President Biden’s advisers indicated he “strongly opposed” the measure, arguing it would sanction a wide range of officials, including court staff and any witnesses involved in potential cases. Nonetheless, the vote revealed fissures within the Democratic coalition and broad bipartisan frustration with the ICC, as 42 Democrats crossed party lines to support the Republican-backed measure.

This episode underscores the complex interplay of international law, human rights advocacy, and U.S. foreign. It also highlights the influential role of high-profile individuals like George and Amal Clooney in advocating for justice and accountability on the global stage.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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