A group of lawmakers from the Democratic Party are advancing a resolution in Congress that would support the anti-judicial reform movement in Israel. Initiated by Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Annie Kuster (NH), the resolution was explicitly aimed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The Netanyahu government’s anti-democratic agenda threatens not only Israel’s standing in the world, but also the very core of the special relationship between the United States and Israel,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “I hope this resolution serves as a warning to the Netanyahu government to reverse course and as a beacon of hope for the millions of Israelis protesting to save the foundation and future of their nation.”
“Like many Israelis and Americans, I am alarmed by the Israeli government’s passage of the ‘reasonableness law,’” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “This law limits the Supreme Court of Israel’s ability to serve as a check on the nation’s legislative and executive branches. The current Israeli government’s attempts to weaken the Supreme Court pose a critical threat to Israel’s democratic institutions, which are the foundation of the relationship between our two countries. I am proud to join this resolution to send a clear message that the United States Congress stands for democracy in Israel.”
In addition to Schakowsky and Kuster, the resolution is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (NY), Jamie Raskin (MD), Julia Brownley (CA), Gerry Connolly (VA), Madeleine Dean (PA), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Anna Eshoo (CA), Dan Goldman (NY), Barbara Lee (CA), Mark Takano (CA), and Susan Wild (PA).
While many have questioned the appropriateness of US intervening in Israeli internal policy, the Biden administration and even the president himself have been vocal about their opposition to the reforms proposed by the coalition government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less,” Biden told Netanyahu, according to Axios. “Given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus.”
The White House released a statement after the first stage of the reforms passed a Knesset vote, expressing support for the opposition parties in Israel.
“The United States will continue to support the efforts of President Herzog and other Israeli leaders as they seek to build a broader consensus through political dialogue,” the statement read.
This statement took on even more ominous overtones as PM Netanyahu still has not been invited to the White House, whereas Yair Lapid, the current leader of the opposition, was hosted by Biden during his six-and-a-half-month term as prime minister, and Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president and a member of the opposition Labor Party, was hosted last month.