US Judge Rejects US Complicity Case on Technical Grounds

With an eye on the World Court genocide case, the Northern California judge implored defendants to reconsider their support of Israel’s military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.

U.S. President Joe Biden, at left, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on right, and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, facing camera, in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom / Government Press Office of Israel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

A federal judge in Oakland, California, dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that aimed to stop the U.S. from aiding Israel’s catastrophic assault on the Gaza Strip — but also offered sharp criticism of the Biden administration’s unwavering support for the war.

U.S. Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California ruled that the suit brought by Palestinian rights organizations and individuals in both the U.S. and Gaza falls “outside the court’s limited jurisdiction” and must be rejected on technical grounds.

White described the case as a rare instance “in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the court,” but notably pointed to the International Court of Justice’s finding that South Africa’s genocide case against Israel is “plausible” and suggested the U.S. government should reconsider its role in supporting the assault on Gaza.

“Both the uncontroverted testimony of the plaintiffs and the expert opinion proffered at the hearing on these motions as well as statements made by various officers of the Israeli government indicate that the ongoing military siege in Gaza is intended to eradicate a whole people and therefore plausibly falls within the international prohibition against genocide,” White wrote.

“It is every individual’s obligation to confront the current siege in Gaza, but it is also this court’s obligation to remain within the metes and bounds of its jurisdictional scope,” he continued. “This court implores defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.”

The ruling came as the estimated death toll from Israel’s assault on Gaza passed 27,000 — likely a dramatic undercount, given the number of bodies believed to be trapped under rubble and the growing difficulty of counting the dead as the Israeli bombing campaign nears the four-month mark.

‘Far From a Win for US Government’

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a press event in January 2023. (White House, Cameron Smith)

Diala Shamas, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) — which represented the plaintiffs in Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden — said in a statement Wednesday that the federal court’s ruling was “far from a win for the U.S. government.”

President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon Secretary Lloyd Austin were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which sought an emergency order halting U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. In its response to the lawsuit, the Biden administration argued for the case’s dismissal on procedural grounds.

“It is unprecedented and damning that a federal court has all but affirmed that Israel is committing a genocide while criticizing defendants Biden, Blinken, and Austin’s ‘unflagging’ support for the acts that constitute that genocide,” said Shamas.

During oral arguments last week, Palestinian plaintiffs testified to the appalling destruction that Israel is imposing on Gaza’s population, most of which is now displaced and at growing risk of starvation and disease. 

More than 100 of the plaintiffs’ family members have been killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza since Oct. 7, when the bombing began following a deadly Hamas-led assault on southern Israel.

“I have lost everything in this war,” said Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, who testified from a Gaza hospital. “I have nothing but my grief. This is what Israel and its supporters have done to us.”

Mohammed Monadel Herzallah, another plaintiff in the case, said in response to Wednesday’s ruling that “it is important that the court recognized the United States is providing unconditional support to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza and that a federal court heard Palestinian voices for the first time.”

“But we are still devastated that the court would not take the important step to stop the Biden administration from continuing to support the slaughter of the Palestinian people,” said Herzallah.

“Currently, my family lacks food, medicine, and the most basic necessities for survival. As Palestinians, we know this is a hard struggle, and as plaintiffs we will continue to do everything in our power to save our people’s lives.”

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

16 comments for “US Judge Rejects US Complicity Case on Technical Grounds

  1. Martin Holmes
    February 3, 2024 at 01:12

    From the above article: “More than 100 of the plaintiffs’ family members have been killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza since Oct. 7, when the bombing began following a deadly Hamas-led assault on southern Israel.”

    What “…deadly Hamas-led assault on southern Israel.” ? It took a day or so to figure that the attacks of October 7th were in fact an Israeli / CIA / Mossad inside job. They did it – just like our 9/11.

  2. Willow
    February 2, 2024 at 17:27

    If there was no jurisdiction, wouldn’t the case have been dismissed on the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement made before the trial, preventing the merits of the case to be presented and argued. But letting the trial go forward, hearing evidence and then dismissing afterwards on technical grounds is unusual, isn’t it?

  3. robert e williamson jr
    February 2, 2024 at 16:47

    In a more perfect world the “Three Amigos” (SEE: photo – Blinken, Biden and Austin), would be horse whipped until they came to their seriously lacking common senses.

    As absolute evidence I submit the photo revealing building damage provided above. A photo that strongly supports accusations of carpet bombing and free fire zones.

    A Free Fire Zone is defined as an area in which military units have prior clearance to fire at will on any person or abject encountered.

    In this case an area from which safe escape by inhabitants is impossible. In addition the majority of death and wounded are non-combatants, old men, women and children. Genocide by any other name.

    I really have to wonder what the hell happened to these three men. them posing in front of the U.S. flag is bad enough, them posing in front of the U.S. and Israeli flags is sickening.

    Thanks CN

  4. Fritz
    February 2, 2024 at 16:05

    Technique is the Stuff of Law The judge is an employee of the federal government, if he dared to bite the hand which feeds him, that hand could fix him but good. He is subject to dismissal any time his employer sees fit. He had a conflict of interest to even so much as preside over the case.
    Even POTUS JFK was subject to dismissal.

    The United States of Atrocities (USA) is an entity that routinely rationalizes the violence they perpetrate is prescribed by “rules based order” which is a one-sided rule to always benefit itself. This B.S. has nothing whatsoever to do with United Nations international law which is unenforceable anyways against the world’s bully.

    The plaintiffs exercised an extremely vain act to seek justice of any sort in a court owned and operated by the USA.
    The only thing the USA might respect is being overwhelmed by raw naked violence.

  5. Voltaria Voltaire
    February 2, 2024 at 12:16

    So we wonder which court HAS jurisdiction then, and aside from taking a win on the truthful comments of the Judge against the continuing complicity in the atrocities against the Palestinians, how would we move forward for a more acceptable win?

    Perhaps Professor Francis Boyle, who has experience winning cases against genocide, could be consulted.

    It appears that the US is either accepting and forwarding faulty Intel, refusing to believe valid Intel they ARE getting, or ignoring truthful Intel and being two faced about it, for any number of plausible reasons.

    Also, as language in legal matters tends to be used, and misused, in legal battles, perhaps we should look MUCH, MUCH closer at the words Genocide, and Plausibly. How do they translate into 17 different languages? And just because a person grows up with a language does not guarantee they know what the words they use and forward mean.

    As words tend to change and acquire new meanings because of the afore mentioned difficilty, it is helpful to use a variety of dictionaries and even Etymology reference books to gain the most precise understandings.

    In the Microsoft Encarta dictionary from 2001 the first definition of plausible is : “1. believable and appearing likely to be true, usually in the absence of proof”. Okay, that fits. However, for the first time, perhaps, in history, we have the very UNUSUAL case that we DO have proof of Genocide occurring in real time. This is due to technological advances in our communications systems of our current age. There are documented evidences, statements, recordings of officials, eye witness accounts and their recordings. Okay, so, if one then looks at the derivation of the word plausible, in The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology 1985, one sees : laudable, acceptable, agreeable; having an appearance of truth or value. It comes originally from the Latin “plaudere” which means to clap the hands in approval. Applaud and explode are related.

    Plausibly DOES NOT mean possibly. LET’S BE HONEST. Truly honest.

    Besides, there is NO WAY to stop the killing without a CEASEFIRE. The highest court on the planet made it clear that Israel’s claims of self defence are INVALID.

    It is true that Israel considers it’s current, provably genocidal actions valuable, and this also appears to be true in the words and actions of other colonizing powers. They are applauding it. They have been freely confessing to the most alarming of genocidal crimes. It may be cold and calculating, but it IS, none the less, highly irrational. NO ONE BENEFITS FROM GENOCIDE – ANYWHERE. Not even the countries or individuals who consider they do. The future tells. THE GENOCIDE MUST STOP AND LEGAL ACTIONS OF A SUFFICIENT NATURE TO DO SO MUST BE STEPPED UP.

  6. hetro
    February 2, 2024 at 12:00

    Definition: “nonjusticiable: [adjective] not justiciable : not capable of being decided by legal principles or by a court of justice”

    This word is a fancy legalism to shift what’s under consideration from legal to political. This is the ruling. To wit: no such court can control the province of the federal executive, which is ruled not by what is moral, decent, and just, but by political allegiances and power structures.

    This word comes up via the links in this analysis as to why the judge, regretfully, had to throw out the case. This is the technical consideration, that is, versus the judge’s view in which he fully supports the ICJ genocide “plausibility” finding.

    This curious word is heavily ironic. A case going on for months in a court to consider the acts of a government, as to whether these acts are just or not, is declared off-limits, and cannot be considered, officially, to have any weight.

    So the legalism here declares justice is not relevant, hence “nonjusticiable” with a fancy term as mask for “We ain’t gonna do a damn thing about it, ya hear?”

    • Piotr Berman
      February 3, 2024 at 14:55

      I thought that fuerer prinzip, namely that the will of the nation’s leader overrides laws, was applied (and codified?) in Nazi Germany, but it seems operational in USA. Courts created various immunities for public officials, starting from police. On the other hand, treaties like the convention on genocide, once approved by the super-majority in the Senate, are the law of the land.

      Also, there is a distinction between immunity of an office holder and the immunity of the office. The first can remove criminal liability from a person, the second, removes the obligation to obey a court order, including paying damages to individuals. For example, a Fresno county policeman can clobber a person to death but cannot be prosecuted under the doctrine of qualified immunity, while the county may be ordered to pay compensation for wrongful death to the family of that person.

      So what laws can bind the Administration of USA?

      • hetro
        February 4, 2024 at 08:29

        “When the President does it, it’s not illegal.” Fuehrer prinzip: Richard Nixon; Adolf Hitler. It would seem the answer is the law of the jungle is preferred for personal gain and whatever sadisms drive their brains. As to the law, the US apparently needs a Court of Justice for what is basic to most sensate, decent human beings: killing helpless people and innocents to get your jollies is WRONG.

  7. Blanca Rose
    February 2, 2024 at 11:33

    Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.

    A political judge, a member of a political party, who was nominated by the state’s Senators (Torture Feinstein??), and then approved by both the Leader of the Free World and the US Senate as being politically proper and obedient enough to be a judge, sided with the political machine and fails to stop their one of their multiple campaigns of mass death.

    I’m shocked.

    This stops when we stop it. Asking the people who are complicit and a part of the machine to please stop the machine for us is the ultimate of futility. Neither America nor the world works that way. American novelist Sinclair Lewis had an old quote about its futile to ask a person who earns their living from the death machine to stand up and oppose the death machine. This judge draws their paycheck from the death machine. This judge probably wants a promotion to the Appeals Court, and knows that it would never happen if the judge saw and acknowledged genocide. Predictable outcome.

  8. Carolyn L Zaremba
    February 2, 2024 at 10:51

    Will no one rid us of these genocidal politicians?

    • Steve Naidamast
      February 2, 2024 at 12:43

      The only people who can do this is us.

      We must consider the unthinkable before they destroy our nation. And people are beginning to turn in that direction if what is going on in Texas is any example…

  9. Mark J Oetting
    February 2, 2024 at 08:57

    Yet Biden continues to be supported by slim majority of voters according to the latest polls. What are people thinking?

    • Steve Naidamast
      February 2, 2024 at 17:29

      Actually, Biden, for all intents and purposes, is completely tanking in the polls.

      At this time, Trump will win the presidency in November…

  10. susan
    February 2, 2024 at 07:50

    Just goes to show how truly ineffectual our legal system really is…

  11. Anon
    February 1, 2024 at 17:15

    Our Founding Fathers left a race loophole due to lifestyle… no reason to expect Earth’s most recent experiment in sharing (due?) with le$$ fortunate not to extend to realistic court experience!

  12. Rich Mynick
    February 1, 2024 at 15:30

    The utter criminality of the Biden Admin’s support for Israel’s mass murder program leaves one stunned, speechless, & furious. To look for a historical comparison, it’s as if FDR’s administration (before getting into the war itself) had provided limitless quantities of weaponry and diplomatic support to Hitler’s Nazis, rather than to the “Allies.” And the Western media reaction is the same — as if the NYT and all the mainstream “news” had provided daily front-page sympathetic coverage about all the suffering German families who lost loved ones fighting courageously on the Eastern Front against the Russian “brutes.”

    It’s very hard to see how the USA is ever going to outlive the stench of the indefensible & repulsive stance it’s taking on Israel. This really has to be the last nail in the coffin for the threadbare myth of the US “standing for freedom and democracy.”

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