from The Gray Area:
These headlines provide the political narratives of both sides on the Israeli Judicial Reforms just passed: Sometimes you can determine where the truth is on a complicated issue by looking at who is protesting against it. In the case of Israel and the judicial reforms their government just instituted, its the progressive left (both in the US & Israel), the President of The United States, his Democrat Party and our media. If you look at the sides against, you know that they shout the loudest when there favorite political positions are threatened. Clearly that is the case in Israel today. The volume criticism from the anti-Israel progressives in the U.S. House, to the anti-Netanyahu White House, to Biden summoning a NYT columnist to the Oval Office to discuss the issues, it is clear a major left wing ox is being gored. The opposition has now reached the 'resistance' stage. That’s when the media says democracy is dying, officials refuse to remain impartial, activists block key roads, barricade think tanks and harass politicians’ families, and investors muse about pulling capital. Israeli Air Force pilots are even shirking reserve duty. This is bad for the country, but it’s good opposition politics: Sow chaos, then shout, “Look how chaotic Israel has become.” What is it about the Israeli judicial reforms that has them up in arms? Israel’s high court, starting in the 1980s, made itself the final arbiter on all things. “Everything is justiciable,” declared a former chief justice. The court has reviewed cabinet appointments, budget allocations, combat decisions and even whether the Prime Minister is “unfit” for office. It also empowers the attorney general, a civil servant, to pre-veto government policies with legally binding opinions. This is done under the heading of 'reasonableness'. Comparing reasonableness to the US Supreme Court, you can see how partial and activist the U.S. Supreme Court could become and has become in Israel. The US Supreme Court rules ONLY on Constitutional issues, then refers back to the legislature in Washington, or in the States, to make changes necessary in law. They may comment on 'reasonableness', but they decide on constitutional law. 'Reasonableness' in courts is a political opinion, not a review of law. Most Israelis now accept that the judiciary needs reform—a major achievement by the right. But the Netanyahu government hasn’t convinced Israelis that its reform plan is the right one. Today they voted to eliminate 'reasonableness' and the left went crazy, saying “We refuse to accept this,” said Roee Basha, 34. “It is clear to us all that there is no alternative. We either escalate or we leave the country.”. The reforms do not eliminate the Court's ability to review government policy, as CNN claimed. As The Wall Street Journal summarized; Mostly the reforms are sensible: The government has to be free to argue its own legal positions. The court’s “reasonableness” standard for striking down actions it doesn’t like has been unreasonable. The government is right to remove the court’s power over selection of new justices, which has been abused to exclude qualified, dissenting jurists. Most controversial is a clause that would let a Knesset majority override the court when it strikes down a law. The problem here isn’t with giving elected representatives the last word on most matters of law. It’s that the override is a recipe for unending and corrosive constitutional conflict. Far better to protect a political sphere by restoring the standard restrictions on which cases the court will hear, and then let the court rule within its areas of competency. Israel would be made more democratic, not less, and the judicial safeguards would remain. The message to Israelis is that the U.S. is with you, but not your government. It’s the kind of thing we tell Cubans and Iranians, or at least we used to. That the White House adopts the same approach with an allied democracy is a sign of the times in the Democrat Party. Last week the White House issued a statement urging Israel “to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly” for judicial-reform protesters—as if Israel has done something else. New York Rep. Jerry Nadler calls Israel’s reform proposals “anti-democratic” and a threat to judicial independence. That he and other Democrats who support attacking individual Justices, packing the U.S. Supreme Court, and putting it under Congress’s thumb on recusal rules, never seems to prompt any cognitive dissonance. Yet they treat Israel as an incipient authoritarian state. More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required): More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required): More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

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