On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Israel’s plan to build new settlements as undermining Israeli democracy. This follows President Biden’s interview with New York Times, where, he too, decided to meddle in the internal affairs of Israel’s democratic system.
On Israel government’s proposed judicial reform plan, Biden said:
“The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary. Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained.”
This statement echoes earlier remarks by Secretary Blinken who stated, “…as democracies, one of the things that we recognize is that building consensus on new proposals is the best way to make sure that not only are they embraced but that they actually endure.”
Moreover, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also said that he was “very concerned” that the judicial reform would make Israel “less democratic.”
This Democrat pressure has achieved its desired result on stunting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for judicial reform. Even though Bibi has a government and a majority coalition, his government has agreed to negotiate with the opposition on a compromise to the judicial reform without preconditions.
And the leader of the opposition Yair Lapid swiftly rejected the overture, with his partners following suit. Lapid is one of many participating in a hyperbolic, toxic chorus against Bibi’s proposal, stating that the reforms would result in “erasing democracy.” Both the leaders of the opposition Labor and National Unity parties called the judicial reform a “coup d’etat,” with former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon similarly calling the reform “a regime coup.” Former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit called the proposed reforms “regime change” and “the elimination of the independence of the legal system from end to end.”
These proposed judicial reforms, however, do not upend democracy.
Well-articulated commentary by Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), and Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University argue that the reform actually does otherwise, and makes Israel’s Supreme Court more democratized and accountable to checks and balances. And according to some accounts, Israel’s public opinion has gone from 80 percent supportive of Israel’s Supreme Court 25 years ago to 75 percent distrustful of the Court only two years ago.
But the rhetoric of some within Israel’s ruling class has become so depraved that it even borders on incitement to violence. Former AG Mandelblit stated that if these reforms move forward, “somebody or some people will pay the price in blood. That’s what will happen.” Evoking Nazi imagery, the leader of the Labor party called the reforms a “legislative blitz of the judicial system,” while former Prime Minister Ehud Barak photoshopped a picture of Israel president Isaac Hertzog to a picture of Neville Chamberlain and called any compromise “peace in our time,” thus comparing the current Israeli government to Nazi Germany. Barak has since deleted that post, but one cannot help draw parallels to caricatures drawn of the late Yitzhak Rabin as Hitler prior to Rabin’s assassination.
And the head pilot of Israel’s 1981 airstrike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor chillingly posted on Facebook, as reported in The Times of Israel:
‘If a prime minister stands up and assumes dictatorial powers for himself, he deserves to die, it’s as simple as that,’ [Zeev Raz] wrote in a Friday Facebook post that did not mention Netanyahu by name. If a leader behaves ‘in a dictatorial way, there’s an obligation to kill them,’ Raz added. Justifying his claim, he appeared to argue that allowing the controversial judicial overhaul to move forward would result in ‘a lot of innocent dead, and it’s better to kill the criminals first.’
If the Biden administration and the opposition in Israel really cared about the future of democracy in Israel, they would allow a vote to move forward in the Knesset on judicial reform. Rather, it is stonewalling that vote that threatens democracy and peace in Israel.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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