OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Blinken warns Israel against limiting the power of the left

The U.S. secretary of state also told Israel to tone down its efforts to combat terrorism, and called to uphold the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel, Jan. 30, 2023. Credit: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy in Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel, Jan. 30, 2023. Credit: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy in Israel.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel on Monday, appearing to spend much of his time berating Prime Minister Netanyahu and the new Israeli government over democratic judicial reform.

Under the current system, Israel’s Supreme Court has unlimited power, selecting its members and claiming standing and absolute authority to intervene in any and every case it chooses while basing the decisions on its own whims due to the lack of a constitution.

Judicial reform would restore some democratic checks and balances to Israel. The new government coalition was democratically elected to, among other things, restore democracy.

The left and the media have been going wild because they hate democracy and prefer to rule through the judiciary, not to mention prosecutors and assured institutional unelected systems.

Blinken decided to dive in by warning Israel against fighting terrorism.

“We continue to believe that the best way to achieve [Israeli security] is through preserving and then realizing the vision of two states.  As I said to the prime minister, anything that moves us away from that vision is, in our judgment, detrimental to Israel’s long-term security and its long-term identity as a Jewish and democratic state. That’s why we’re urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate. We want to make sure that there’s an environment in which we can, I hope, at some point create the conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, which of course is sorely lacking,” he scolded.

Nice to know that Israelis and terrorists are equally responsible for de-escalation.

Then he advocated upholding the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, under the guise of maintaining the status quo.

“We also remain committed to supporting religious coexistence and diversity, including in Jerusalem. We continue to support upholding the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy places, including the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif,” he said.

Then the speech got into the main event.

“Throughout the relationship between our countries, what we come back to time and again is that it is rooted both in shared interests and in shared values,” said Blinken. “That includes our support for core democratic principles and institutions, including respect for human rights, the equal administration of justice for all, the equal rights of minority groups, the rule of law, free press, a robust civil society—and the vibrancy of Israel’s civil society has been on full display of late,” he continued.

“The commitment of people in both our countries to make their voices heard, to defend their rights, is one of the unique strengths of our democracies. Another is a recognition that building consensus for new proposals is the most effective way to ensure they’re embraced and that they endure. Our fellow democracies can also make us stronger. That’s what the United States and Israel have done for each other over many decades, by holding ourselves to the mutual standards we’ve established; and by speaking frankly and respectfully, as friends do, when we agree and when we do not.

“The discussion that the prime minister and I had today was no exception.  That conversation will continue, including with other members of Israel’s government and civil society, as part of a perpetual process to defend and bolster the pillars of our democracy, which we are both committed to,” he concluded.

The general assumption is that Blinken was talking about Israel’s proposed judicial reform. Here he’s even more out of line than anywhere else, because the Biden administration has no business in interfering in Israeli politics.

But Blinken decided to go for it anyway, while opposing democracy.

During his meeting with President Isaac Herzog, a figurehead with no meaningful authority, Blinken became even more explicit.

“I [have] also heard and seen your comments regarding the Israeli internal situation—of course, [referring to] the constitutional argument that has ensued in the Israeli public, something which I’m heavily devoted to and trying to resolve or lead into a path of an internal dialogue. As you said correctly, this is an issue that requires a wide consensus, and it is an issue that many democracies debate on,” said Herzog.

Blinken responded with, “I would simply say how much we appreciate, Mr. President, your leadership, the clarity of your voice when it comes to working to de-escalate tensions here among communities, the clarity of your voice when it comes to finding a good way forward that builds consensus on the question of judicial reform.”

The idea here would be to turn over judicial reform to Herzog. Considering that Herzog was the former Labor Party boss up against Netanyahu, that would be putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

It is, however, nice of Secretary of State Blinken to come to Israel and tell Israelis to stop letting the people rule and go back to having the left run the country.

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

First 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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