‘Standing down the hanging jury’

By Caroline Glick

In Britain today, hating Israel has become a valid criminal defense. This week five criminal defendants charged with destroying property valued at some $285,000 at the EDO MBM arms factory in Brighton during a January 2009 break-in were found innocent of all charges. They were found innocent despite the fact that all five admitted to having committed the crime.

As the Guardian reported, the defendants boasted in online forums at the time of the incident that their crime was premeditated. It took place during the IDF’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Their declared aim was to, “smash up,” the factory. And they achieved their goal.

The jury found the five innocent because the jurors accepted as a valid defense the defendants’ claim that they vandalized the EDO MBM plant because they wanted to prevent Israel from carrying out war crimes in Gaza. EDO MBM does business with the IDF, therefore, the defendants claimed and the jury agreed, it deserved to be attacked.

In finding as they did, the jurors were acting in accordance with the guidance they received from the presiding judge. As the Guardian reported, Judge George Bathurst-Norman instructed the jury, “You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time.”

What this verdict shows is that in British courts, hatred of Israel has become a license to break the law. This turn of events is the logical flipside of Parliament’s abject refusal to amend Britain’s outrageous universal jurisdiction law. British lawmakers, government officials and jurists all basically agree that the law – which allows magistrates to issue arrest warrants against foreigners based on allegations filed by British subjects – is a legal travesty. It subverts the capacity of the British government to conduct foreign policy by placing all foreigners at the mercy of political activists.

Both Spain and Belgium amended their universal jurisdiction laws for this reason.

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