U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said on Monday in Jerusalem that judicial reform should have no bearing on American military support for Israel.
Speaking to Israeli journalists about the divisive domestic debate regarding the ruling coalition’s legislative initiative, the New York lawmaker expressed the importance of maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge “regardless of where Israel lands in terms of the judicial reform effort.”
Jeffries, who is leading a delegation of 24 House Democrats to Israel this week, also commented on perceived challenges to democracy in both the United States and Israel.
“The ties that bind us together in the context of democracy are powerful ones. It is important during a time at which both of our countries are facing concerns that the fabric of our democracies are being undermined, that we both emerge from this period of time with democracy strengthened, not weakened,” said Jeffries.
He also remarked that the protests in Israel are “a sign of a vibrant democracy.”
Jeffries also assured that the Democratic Party’s support for Israel will continue amid concerns about the stance of some of the party’s progressive members.
“The Democratic Party in the House of Representatives will continue to stand with Israel in lifting up the special relationship between our two countries and in support of Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people and as a Jewish democratic state. Period. Full stop.”
Jeffries added that the party will “continue to stand behind that ironclad commitment to provide for Israel’s safety and security.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the group of lawmakers to his Jerusalem office on Monday.
He thanked the Democrats for their fight against antisemitism and the false accusation that Israel is an “apartheid state” and for supporting Israel’s security. Netanyahu also personally thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for his administration’s efforts “to expand the circle of peace.”
AIPAC President Michael Tuchin also attended the meeting with Netanyahu. This week’s trip is being organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with AIPAC. It is the second such trip to the Jewish state by a Democratic delegation during the 118th Congress and is also being led by previous House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.