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George Clooney Complained to White House About Biden’s Criticism of I.C.C.

George Clooney Complained to White House About Biden’s Criticism of I.C.C.
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The actor contacted a top official to protest the president’s denunciation of the move to seek arrest warrants for top Israeli officials over the war in Gaza, a case his wife worked on.

George Clooney and President Biden in tuxedos and shaking hands.
George Clooney and President Biden at the reception for Kennedy Center honorees in 2022. Mr. Clooney still plans to attend a fund-raiser for the president this month, his spokesman said.Credit…Pool photo by Bonnie Cash

George Clooney contacted a top White House official last month to complain after President Biden criticized the International Criminal Court’s decision to seek a warrant against top Israeli officials over the war in Gaza, a case the actor’s wife had worked on, according to two people familiar with the situation.

His wife, Amal Clooney, a prominent human rights lawyer, served on an advisory panel that helped conduct the court’s investigation, which resulted in warrant requests for Israel’s prime minister and defense minister and three senior Hamas leaders, accusing them of illegal conduct that has led to thousands of civilian deaths.

Mr. Clooney lodged his protest with Steve Ricchetti, a counselor to Mr. Biden who played a pivotal role in his fund-raising efforts four years ago. It had no effect on U.S. policy, a senior administration official said on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Nonetheless, Mr. Clooney’s decision to contact the White House (with a text message, one of the people said) underscores the problems that Israel’s actions have caused for Mr. Biden as he tries to reconcile his support for a stalwart ally with his own misgivings and increased pressure from the disillusioned American left.

To illustrate that dilemma: Mr. Clooney is scheduled to appear at a high-dollar June 15 fund-raiser for Mr. Biden in Los Angeles, with former President Barack Obama in attendance. In a fund-raising email sent on behalf of the Biden-Harris campaign on Saturday, Mr. Clooney said, “Joe and Kamala’s message of hope and belief in a better future for all is one that I believe in.”

Simon Halls, a spokesman for the actor, declined to comment about Mr. Clooney’s interaction with Mr. Ricchetti but said his client “has every intention of attending the fund-raiser.”


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