OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Biden administration funds anti-Netanyahu protest group

A coup in Israel is backed by Washington, D.C.

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a dinner at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a dinner at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, March 9, 2010. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

Even while Israeli children were being murdered by terrorists, the only thing the media wanted to talk about were the leftist protests against the new Israeli government’s democratic judicial reforms. And the Biden administration has joined this campaign.

Israel’s new conservative government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally initiated the long overdue process of restoring democratic checks and balances by limiting the unlimited power of Israel’s Supreme Court. And the left has threatened everything up to civil war to protect its illegitimate power, while its angry protests have been spun as grassroots opposition.

What none of the news reports, editorials, public letters by prominent figures or statements by officials have revealed is that the Biden administration is funding the group behind the protests.

As David Isaac at JNS reported, the first major rally against democratic judicial reform attended by leftist opposition politicians was organized by a group known as the Movement for Quality Government. MQG receives annual funding from the State Department to purportedly conduct “classes” on democracy in Israeli schools. The State Department is well aware that MQG has a long history of waging “lawfare” against the Israeli government, because its work has been cited in its “human rights” reports. While State Department funding was not programmed for protests, money is fungible, and the Biden administration knows it’s funding an anti-Netanyahu group.

“The speakers at the rallies stand under the MQG banner when they call for insurgency, civil war and violence,” wrote prominent Israeli journalist Caroline Glick. “No one is asking the organizers who finances their activities. Someone is paying tens of millions of shekels to rent buses to transport scores of thousands of people to rallies, buy them flags, print banners and signs, rent stages and sound systems and finance ad campaigns in every newspaper and on billboards across the country.”

MQG’s obsession with stopping the return of a Zionist government is so extreme that it generated a FARA registration by hiring a Washington, D.C., law firm for the “initiation of investigation by one or more U.S. government agencies” of ridiculous leftist smears that Netanyahu was having his laundry washed for free by the Trump administration.

(This may seem surreal, but the Israeli left’s Netanyahu Derangement Syndrome is so extreme that one of its fake government investigations focused on his wife’s bottle recycling. The fake scandals invented by the left were even referenced in a hilarious Netanyahu campaign ad.)

The Biden administration’s funding of MQG (a practice which technically began in 2020 under Trump, the year when the FARA registration happened) continued even as the group amped up its lawfare. The Obama administration had helped back the 2011 social justice protests in Israel, in which MQG was involved, that were widely seen as a rehearsal for Occupy Wall Street.

But MQG is a lot more than just an opposition group, and its presence pulls back the curtain on the struggle to restore democracy and the motives of those opposed to it in Tel Aviv and D.C.

A leading criticism of the abusive power of the Israeli Supreme Court is that it hears cases based on lawsuits from groups like MQG without any standing. This has allowed the court, which recognizes no limitations on its powers, to intervene in anything. Once MQG generates a case, the Supreme Court can then step in. MQG is not just an opposition group, it’s a key piece of the illegitimate infrastructure that has replaced democracy with a totalitarian judiciary.

An example of the authoritarian intertwining of MQG and the Supreme Court came when the leftist group filed a petition demanding the removal of the head of the Israeli Bar Association because of “his criticisms of the court.” If MQG opposes even any criticisms of the source of its power, it certainly is not about to accept democratic efforts to return that power to the people.

“From the Knesset I don’t expect anything,” Eliad Shraga, MQG’s boss, said dismissively of the democratically elected legislature at a protest against judicial reform. “The only help will come from the heroes in the Supreme Court.”

The Israeli Supreme Court gets its ability to intervene in any matter from groups like MQG. And MQG gets funding from the Biden administration. It’s not hard to see why the Biden administration is opposed to democratic reforms that would impose checks on the power of MQG and the court. Much as American leftists have opposed forcing NGOs like it to disclose sources of foreign funding. And it’s a good thing, because otherwise we might not know who pulls their strings.

Israelis have long been concerned about the ability of foreign organizations, like those funded by Soros and foreign governments, to set the agenda no matter what the voters decide.

Democratic judicial reform is crucial to ending those abuses—and that’s why Biden is so opposed.

While the Biden administration has often criticized Israel over its fight against Islamic terrorists, it took the unusual step of intervening in its domestic politics by attacking judicial reform.

Biden warned that Israeli democracy requires “checks and balances” from “an independent judiciary” and urged “building consensus for fundamental changes.”

During his recent visit to Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Isaac Herzog, a former leftist candidate currently serving as president, to bond over their mutual hate for democracy.

Blinken replied to Herzog’s urging to intervene by praising “the clarity of your voice when it comes to finding a good way forward that builds consensus on the question of judicial reform.”

The rhetoric was part of a leftist push to kill judicial reform by taking it away from the parties chosen by the voters and handing it to Herzog: another unelected official. The Biden administration, the media and assorted officials claim that turning over judicial reform to Herzog will be a compromise that will provide a unifying consensus and end the protests.

“They want to destroy the system because the system wasn’t nice to them,” Shraga ranted to the Washington Post while attacking judicial reform. “This is a hostile takeover by a bunch of crooks.”

A hostile takeover of Israel by a bunch of crooks is what judicial reform opponents are after.

Blinken and Herzog would have some potential common ground, dating back to the Clinton administration. Before Herzog was the Labor Party’s candidate to run Israel, he was serving as Marc Rich’s lawyer. The international fugitive lobbied for a pardon from Bill Clinton through Herzog, who met with at least one State Department figure. It’s not hard to imagine Herzog and Blinken conferring over a deal for the criminal who violated the embargo to buy oil from Iran.

Now that’s some real dirty laundry.

Herzog also worked for another international fugitive, Octav Botnar. Herzog served as the trustee for Botnar’s estate while millions were funneled through it to fund anti-Netanyahu ads by an associate of top Democrat campaign pros like James Carville. Good thing there was that investigation of Netanyahu’s ice-cream budget.

Why does the Biden administration want Marc Rich’s errand boy to oversee judicial reform?

There’s a long trail of corrupt connections between the American and Israeli left, rooted in the Clinton era. This “hostile takeover by a bunch of crooks” has wrecked both countries. And now the crooks are afraid, they’re sweating and screaming in the streets, they’re paying formerly respectable people to pen editorials attacking judicial reform, and some people are falling for it.

Everything that they’re saying is the opposite of the truth.

Judicial reform is not a threat to democracy: it’s the sole hope for restoring democracy. It will not usher in tyranny, but eliminate it. And the protest movement against it is every bit as authentic as the last astroturfed protests that were also meant to force out Netanyahu.

The Biden administration, like the Obama administration, is trying to undermine Israeli democracy while preserving the power of its leftist allies to impose their coup.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Originally published by FrontPage Magazine.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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