SNP MSP: International Criminal Court is biased against Israel

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is “biased against Israel”, an SNP MSP has claimed.

The ICC last week announced it would seek the arrest of senior leaders of Hamas, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and one of his senior ministers for alleged war crimes.

The decision drew criticism from the UK and US governments, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak describing it as “deeply unhelpful”.

And in an email sent last week, SNP MSP John Mason criticised the ICC, claiming it was “not neutral”.

“You refer to the International Criminal Court but we know that such bodies are not neutral but are biased against Israel,” he said in response to a push by the group Show Israel the Red Card to sever sporting links with the country.

Mr Mason also went on to blame Iran for being “behind the current Middle East crisis”, while rejecting calls to end sporting links with Israel.

He wrote: “Israel is far from perfect but it does have a better human rights standard and is more democratic than many other countries.

“So if we stopped playing Israel, we should also have to break sporting links with Iran (which is behind the current Middle East crisis), Saudi (which has an awful human rights record), Afghanistan (where women are so badly treated), China, India, and Pakistan (in all three minorities are very badly treated), and several other countries.”

The SNP has consistently called for a ceasefire since the conflict began following the Hamas attacks on October 7 last year.

Former first minister Humza Yousaf was praised for his stance on the issue after his wife’s family were trapped in Gaza during Israeli bombing.

The Scotland women’s national football team is due to play the country this week at Hampden, with the game to be played without fans due to “the potential for planned disruptions”.

The return fixture next week – due to take place in Hungary – will also be played behind closed doors.

Maree Shepherd, of Show Israel the Red Card, said: “I am extremely shocked and concerned that an elected member of the SNP party could openly claim that international institutions such as the ICC are biased.

“To do so greatly hampers the chance of bringing peace and holding to account those guilty of war crimes.

“To also ignore Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine of almost eight decades, its appalling human rights records and its latest horrific military campaign on occupied Palestinians where Gaza has been reduced to rubble and over 36,000 Palestinians have been killed is also deeply alarming.

“He also accuses Iran as the nation responsible for the current crisis in the Middle East, with again no mention of Israel’s role.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “The SNP is clear that the International Criminal Court is scrupulously independent and fair. We are equally clear that the current crisis is the direct result of the actions of Hamas and the Israeli government.

“Thousands of innocent Palestinian children, women and men have been killed. The Tories and Labour Party must finally join the SNP in recognising the state of Palestine, halting arms sales, and calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the collective punishment of people in Gaza.”