As Israelis, right and left, protest in favor and against the ongoing judicial reform measures proposed by Israel’s conservative coalition led by Likud Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, American left-wing progressives have attempted to turn the events in favor of their own political agenda.
On Sunday, MSNBC tv host Mehdi Hasan, an avid critic of Israel, addressed the judiciary protests in Israel, making an analogy between former United States Republican President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s alleged corruption charges and his attempts to thwart Israel’s “independent judiciary system.”
In his segment, Hasan conflated an unrelated topic, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, stating that while Israelis have taken to the streets to protest in favor of democracy, it has never existed for Palestinians who live under Israeli control in the West Bank.
“Where are the Israeli protests for their freedoms, for their rights, after 56 years of Israeli military occupation,” Hasan said.
“There is no saving of Israeli democracy; there is no Israeli democracy without freedom for the occupied Palestinians,” he said. Hasan said that the ongoing protests connect with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, echoing a statement from a left-wing Israeli protester who compared the ongoing protests to the “occupation,” which resulted in “dictatorship.”
Another anti-Israel critic, Peter Beinart, an American left-wing columnist at The New York Times, attempted to equate the current protests with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Twitter, Beinart responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement on Israel making its own decisions based on the people’s will and not outside pressures, saying that the Jewish state does not adhere to such democratic notions because a “majority” are Palestinians.
Experts like Eugene Kontorovich, a Professor of Law and Director of Scalia Law School’s Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University, describe the connection of the Israeli-Palestinian issue to the ongoing Israeli judiciary debate by American progressives and pundits as completely “unrelated.”
Kontorovich notes that opponents of the reform in Israel, like former Israeli Minister of Defense Benjamin (Benny) Gantz and Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the Israeli Knesset, “largely agree with the government on Palestinian issues. “For people like Peter Beinart, all of Israel is only comprehensible through the lens of Palestinian grievance,” Kontorovich told The Foreign Desk.
The Biden White House also sounded off on the issue of Israel’s judiciary reforms, with President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and members of the administration’s National Security team pushing and calling on the Netanyahu government to cease the judiciary reforms over fears that the conservative coalition will enact laws that circumvent the potential for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
Despite the legislation pause by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the refusal of opponents to come to the negotiating table to compromise, the Biden administration has continued to air its grievance against the Likud leader’s reforms going in-so-far to indirectly sponsor anti-Netanyahu protests through U.S. State Department grants to third party organizations.
“This disconnect in US-Israel political thinking is much more likely to have an impact on the ability of Israel to secure its people than any level of judicial reform. Israelis are most concerned about the entry of Iran into the West Bank and the incitement to violence of Hamas and the PA. Yes, Palestinians and Iranians may think that they can stoke an Israeli civil war – and that it might lead to the destruction of the State of Israel, but that is wishful thinking of a high order,” Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Jewish Policy Center told The Foreign Desk.
Bryen said the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “highly unlikely to be relevant for either side” amid the judicial reform debate. “The Biden administration restored the concept of a ‘two-state solution’ between Israel and the Palestinians as a hallmark of its policy. Israelis of both the left and right, however, prioritize personal and national security.”
When asked by reporters if he plans on inviting Netanyahu to Washington, Biden replied with a sharp “No, not in the near term.”
Political commentators and expert Ben Shapiro, the Host of the “Ben Shapiro Show” on the conservative Daily Wire Platform, explained the reason the President was refusing to invite Netanyahu was to harm the conservative coalition in the Knesset.
PM Netanyahu responded to President Biden’s criticisms on Twitter by underscoring that his administration is committed to “strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government, which we are striving to achieve via a broad consensus.”
He warned the U.S. and others that Israel is a sovereign state and “makes its decisions by the will of the people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.” Netanyahu concluded the thread with a third tweet that confirmed that regardless of differences, the U.S. and Israel will always remain allied.
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