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December 14, 2015 2:08 pm

International Law Expert Says British Authorities Are ‘Obeying Demands’ of Anti-Israel Activists (INTERVIEW)

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Travelers arriving at Heathrow Airport in London. The British authorities recently detained an Israeli landing in the UK on business for his part in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Photo: Wikipedia.

Travelers arriving at Heathrow Airport in London. The British authorities recently detained an Israeli landing in the UK on business for his part in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Photo: Wikipedia.

Authorities in the United Kingdom appear to be dancing to the tune of local anti-Israel activists, international law expert Avi Bell told The Algemeiner on Monday.

His comments came days after Israeli media reported that British authorities apologized to the Israeli government for “mistakenly” detaining an IDF reserve officer a few weeks ago.

The officer, who had participated in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014, was detained for several hours of questioning as a “war criminal” when he landed in the UK for a recent business trip. After intervention on the part of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the IDF’s operations directorate and international law division, the man was released.

The incident was the result of complaints filed by anti-Israel organizations in Europe, who are conducting a campaign to punish Israel for alleged war crimes committed against the Palestinians in Gaza. The name of the man in question, it is believed, got onto one of the “blacklists” of these organizations, and when it was established that it was a case of mistaken identity, he was let go.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Bell said, “The British authorities arrested an Israeli under the power of universal jurisdiction. Apparently, anti-Israel activists produced a list of Israelis that they want arrested in the UK on the basis of false charges of war crimes, and the relevant British authorities are obeying the demands of the anti-Israel activists. According to media reports, the only reason the British released the Israeli was that he was not on the list of people that the anti-Israel activists demand be held for a show trial. These reports do not show that the British have apologized for the outrage of agreeing to arrest Israelis on trumped-up charges from a list prepared by anti-Israel activists. Rather, they indicate that the British have only apologized for arresting someone who was not on the list.”

Bell explained the phenomenon of a foreign government with which Israel has diplomatic relations – like the UK – detaining an Israeli traveler at the airport.

“International law generally forbids states from arresting citizens of another country to stand trial for acts that took place in another part of the world,” Bell told The Algemeiner. “However, there is an exception to this general rule called universal jurisdiction. Universal jurisdiction allows the arresting and trying of foreigners for foreign acts when the arrest and trial concern the alleged commission of very serious crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Still, said Bell, professor of law at the University of San Diego and Bar Ilan University in Israel, “It is very rare that countries actually use their authority under the power of universal jurisdiction. No country, for example, has ever invoked universal jurisdiction to arrest and try Palestinian terrorists, or any other terrorists and war criminals that target Israeli Jews.”

This, he claimed, “is clearly a violation of the legal rights of the blacklisted Israelis, who are being punished for their national origin and ethnicity, at the behest of anti-Israel activists. However, there’s no clear way to vindicate the legal rights of the Israelis. The whole point of the blacklisting is to harass the Israelis and force them to go through a legal proceeding at the end of which they will be released because they are innocent. Any harassed Israelis who challenge the blacklist in court will pay the price of being in court.”

The only realistic resolution for this problem, he concluded, is diplomatic.

“The British must identify the government official or officials who are harassing Israelis according to the blacklist, and subject them to appropriate legal and disciplinary proceedings for their abuse of power and violation of the human rights of the blacklisted Israelis. I hope that the British government will not be permitted to sweep this under the rug.”

In the meantime, some former Israeli officers aren’t taking any chances.

“A,” an IDF infantry platoon sergeant in the reserves who fought in the Gaza war — and works for an Israeli high-tech firm — said he never dared share his photos from that operation on Facebook, even ones that were not sensitive from a security point of view.

“It was pretty clear to most of us that we should keep a low profile during and after the war, and not have our faces recognized on social media,” he told The Algemeiner on Monday. “We didn’t want our names and faces to be circulating, with the idea that we might want to take a trip abroad. Furthermore, we began to sense a change in the international atmosphere. High-ranking officers like colonels and above have always had to be especially cautious when traveling. What has changed is the rank of the soldiers who now have to worry. Though we were instructed by our commanders not to expose any details of our military service, this was always explained as part of a security measure; it was never spelled out to us that it was to keep us from being arrested as war criminals abroad.”

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  • JohnWV

    An ICC Committee of four, chaired by Richard Goldstone, a respected South African jurist, investigated Israel’s “Cast Lead” assault of Gaza. Their 2010 report concluded Israel had committed numerous specifically described war crimes. Judge Goldstone, had chosen integrity over loyalty to his ethnicity. For this, he was unmercifully ostracized, threatened with death and even with exclusion from his granddaughter’s bat mitzvah. The Judge caved, but lacked authority to rescind the report. All three other ICC Committee members reaffirmed their findings. The ICC verdict condemning Israel stands.

  • Britain is anti-Israel for since it was forced to give up its mandate to rule Israel and prevent Jews fleeing after the Holocaust from landing in Palestine Jewish territories. That of course in on the surface, while they build a research center in Silicon Wadi around Tel Aviv. Money talks, and Israel’s super tech power commands even their anti-Semite foes attention and investment. Welcome to the real world.

  • Unbelievable – now, traveling to the UK is becoming hazardous to Israelis? What about arresting the terrorists who freely travel over there?

  • George

    Absolutely shameful.

  • jakob wasi

    Eyewash! Israel should look into a mirror to see its warts. The UK are not clicking heels to orders from an anti-Israeli cabal. On the contrary, they are reacting to the deleterious measures of a Zionist state that has gone off the tracks.

    • Jew haters will boil in their own oil, and go to Tartarus.

  • Joseph Feld

    The UK Govt scrapped the universal jurisdiction of its courts and placed this power with H M Govt. The power was being abused by anti-Israel groups and then cancelled.This is most likely the reason the H M Govt apologised.

  • michelle kahn

    Are we surprised?

  • Robert Davis

    Everything these shitty anti Israel activists say and do is illigal but they do not care and keep doing and saying the same inepties! The only way to stop them is counter action ie kill them no matter if it is illegal, they will underzstand they cannot keep doing what they want unpunished and since they are cowards they will stop it. However this is another endless “conflict” and the only way to stop all of these anti-Israel actions is to EXPELL the jordanians and even Israeli arabs over to Jordan. Then the antisemite scum will become totally harmless.

  • Hilltop Watchman

    The 1930s have returned. The Palestinians and the Left are the New Nazis with our bovine “public servants” the new Gestapo. Who said it couldn’t happen again?

    • Once our Muslim leaning president leaves all will change.

  • I think bringing those responsible for detaining the Israeli IDF reserve office to court, to make them pay damages,
    is the way to go. Nothing like hitting them in the pocketbook. Maybe then any others who might try to do the same will think more than twice about doing it.
    Another thought about what to do, I can’t put in print.

    • syed hamzah

      why not bring all those involve in the conflicts in Palestine to the ICC? What is wrong is wrong has nothing to do with anti semites or anti Israel, whoever committed a crime has to pay for it.

  • montlasky

    Why is the author of this article so suprised at the Brits behaviour ?
    The Brits like most other countries in Europe have always been anti Semites. So don’t expect any help from any European country. It comes at a high cost.

  • Art frank

    Centuries old Jew hatred by Brits continues to this day. This in spite of a large population of savage Muslims who turning the country into britistan. Jews should make Aliya to Israel and let the Brits deal with their fifth column Muslims

  • Dave

    Ahh, good old perfidious Albion, never to be trusted!

  • Uriel Priwes

    This goes to show that even a civilized country like the United Kingdom has its share of filthy anti semites in positions of power.

  • I am ashamed of my country, Britain.
    Another regrettable example of “minority rule”.

    • pat

      I have a problem with mine, Ireland. After centuries of struggling to be free, we kept a bit of Jew hatred; after all didn’t they kill Jesus,etc. The Vatican works in devious ways.

  • Julian Clovelley

    If the soldier concerned had full military training it is likely that he would realise that in order to maintain a level of high security it is probable that mistakes will occur

    In this case I would be more concerned with how the detained person was treated during the period in which he was detained. Your article would suggest that the appropriate Israeli authorities were contacted in the correct manner and that protocol was rigidly followed. I find the claim that he was released because of the “intervention on the part of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the IDF’s operations directorate and international law division,” arrogant in the extreme in that the implication is that the security forces of the United Kingdom obeyed orders from a superior authority. The correct wording should not be
    intervention on the part of” but “consultation with”. And of course after such positive consultation he was released. No drama really at all.

    I do not see a claim that the detained person was handcuffed or thrown into a cell, or subjected to intense interrogation procedures

    I hope he was given a cup of coffee and a suitable meal while procedures were followed – and I sincerely hope he was at all times treated with respect and kept within the presumption of innocence. someone might like to actually check that

    The thrust of this article reads as if the writer feels that an Israeli should receive special immediate security clearance. With such a procedure a terrorist seeking to enter the UK would likely come on a forged or stolen Israeli passport and possibly then be in a position to target British citizens including the Jewish Community. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    I expect strong security at airports. I respond to it by saying thank you to the people protecting my safety.

    I cannot help feel that the article is responding to an entirely imaginary attack

    • Mickey Oberman

      “…I cannot help feel that the article is responding to an entirely imaginary attack…”

      You “cannot help feel” but you know nothing at all except what your warped, biased imagination conjures up.

  • art

    by these standards President Obama must be arrested by his use of drones for extra judicial execution

  • Sorry for my english. Does the ngo’s direct the world ? Does the ngo’s tell me what’s good and just, what’s bad and wrong ? Does the ngo’s tell how do I have to think ?
    I think there is no governments, they obey to the ngo’s all over the world. I deny that, I want think by myself and I encourage all people all over the world think by itself, kick all the ngo’s and have his own opinion, after its own reflexion.
    I live in ISRAËL, and I hate all the world, but ISRAËL, because ISRAËL is the JEW of the world.

  • brenrod

    this shows BB to be a eunuch. Why doesnt Israel AG submit a list of pal war criminals like abbas, etc… why doesnt Israel take the parties to court in england for using the british gov to facilitate bogus private claims… basically they are using a list which is apparently not approved by the UK gov… also there should be a backup plan which BB never has.. such as the arrest of britsh citizens to use as hostages when they arrest an Israeli citizen.