OpinionColumn

Despite Biden’s pressure, Israel ends leftist judges’ rule

Judicial reform is not an attack on democracy, it's the downfall of a tyranny.

Headlines and black front pages of Israeli newspapers a day after the Israeli government passed a law abolishing the “reasonableness standard.” Photo by Chaim Goldbeg/Flash90.
Headlines and black front pages of Israeli newspapers a day after the Israeli government passed a law abolishing the “reasonableness standard.” Photo by Chaim Goldbeg/Flash90.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

The vast gap between leftist hysteria and what it’s actually fighting can be easily spotted when it omits discussing the specifics of the case. Take the leftist clamor over “book bans.” Ask them specifically what books are being banned in the majority of cases, and suddenly they have to defend the graphic pornographic content in books like “Gender Queer.”

The Israeli left, political elites and media allies have been howling that Israel’s democracy is being destroyed because of democratic judicial reforms that would stop the Supreme Court from wielding absolute power and overturning laws simply because the leftists on the court oppose them.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s U.S. visit was in no small part about undermining the Netanyahu government by propping up a leftist opposition figure. (That was why the Dems, who had previously embraced Rep. Ilhan Omar, rushed to hide away any dissent—not because they were pro-Israel, but because they were anti-Netanyahu.)

Biden has continued pressuring Israel to stop judicial reform.

In a statement to Axios, he called on Netanyahu not to move forward with the legislation, citing concern about its “potential implications.”

“Biden urged Netanyahu in a phone call last week to try and get a broad consensus for his judicial overhaul legislation. According to two sources briefed on the call, Biden told Netanyahu he isn’t the only one concerned about where the prime minister is taking Israel, many Americans are too,” according to the report.

“Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who on Sunday returned from the U.S. where he met with Biden and discussed the judicial overhaul, is making a last-ditch effort to reach a compromise between the government and the opposition on the legislation.

“He has proposed watering down the bill so it will leave the Supreme Court some authority to review government decisions on the basis of reasonableness.”

Note the “reasonableness” line.

What it really means is that the Supreme Court is able to overturn decisions reached by elected officials because the leftists on the court (who select their own membership) think they’re not “reasonable.”

Imagine if the U.S. Supreme Court had unlimited power to take any case and overturn any government decision, not based on the Constitution, but based on its own opinions. Then imagine that the court could select its own members. This is the nightmarish situation in Israel, which the left has done everything to uphold because it keeps on losing actual democratic elections.

When Israel’s leftists elites and their foreign allies shriek that democracy is under siege if their courts can’t supersede democratically elected officials, what they really mean is that democracy is besieging them.

With the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, moving to pass judicial reform, some of the country’s biggest companies announced that they were going “on strike.” There was a time when strikes meant workers protesting a handful of entrenched elites—now it’s the elites going on strike to protest the workers.

There was no depth to which leftists proved unwilling to sink, including organizing “strikes” in the military and among doctors.

Despite everything, the “reasonableness” standard according to which judges can overturn anything they like on a whim has been partly rolled back.

“The Knesset passed a key piece of the coalition’s judicial reform legislation into law on Monday.

“All 64 members of the coalition, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was released from hospital on Monday morning following a procedure to implant a cardiac pacemaker, voted in favor. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the third and final vote.

“The amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary limits the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called reasonableness standard. It bars ‘reasonableness’ as a legal justification for judges to reverse decisions made by the Cabinet, ministers and ‘other elected officials as set by law.'”

That story comes from JNS. Apart from it and Israel National News, the rest of the media coverage has consisted of hysterical propaganda and smear campaigns. That includes even formerly pro-Israel outlets like Israel Hayom and The Jerusalem Post, which are lying, smearing and defending the abusive status quo.

If you don’t believe me, here’s a sample of the rhetoric that’s now routine at Israel Hayom:

“Netanyahu’s ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox religious allies say the package is meant to restore power to elected officials. Critics say it is a power grab fueled by various personal and political grievances by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges, and his partners.”

Ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox. Not much more needs to be said about Israel Hayom’s current leftist orientation.

“The Biden administration considers it ‘unfortunate’ that the Israeli parliament ratified part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contested judicial overhaul plan on Monday, a White House National Security Council spokesperson said,” the paper reported.

That’s one way to know it’s a good thing.

The bottom line is, ignore the lies and smears in 99% of the media. That includes even the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom, never mind garbage like The Times of Israel, and ask what the bottom line is.

The bottom line is judges being able to rule unilaterally.

There’s nothing democratic about that. Judicial reform is not an attack on democracy, it’s the downfall of a tyranny.

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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