This is a really extraordinary article.
All of these months the Israeli Left and the media have been howling that judicial reform which means rolling back the unlimited authority of the country’s Supreme Court, was a coup and a threat to democracy. Mostly the media and politicians in this country have echoed those lies.
Here the New York Times breaks from that narrative, admits that judicial reform makes sense, and that the only problem is who’s carrying it out.
In their details, the judicial changes that Israel’s Parliament passed yesterday sound like something that liberals in the U.S. and democracy advocates around the world might support.
Israel reduced the power of its Supreme Court judges, who until now could use the vague standard of “reasonableness” to overturn policies enacted by government ministers. Going forward, democratically elected leaders will have more power, and unelected judges will have less. Conceptually, the policy is not so different from changes that many Democrats would like to implement in this country.
This is exactly what I and the remaining sane people have been saying. The “reasonableness” standard is a blank check for unelected and self-selected judges to rule in place of democratically elected governments.
And Democrats who keep talking about packing the Supreme Court in this country rant that Israel’s government checked some of the unlimited power of its court.
The New York Times starts out by admitting this basic reality, judicial reform is legitimate, and goes even further by admitting that the only issue is that conservatives are doing it.
The government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who’s known as Bibi) is the most right-wing in the country’s 75-year history, many observers say. Freed from judicial oversight, it will have the ability to push Israel further toward becoming a religiously conservative country.
It’s not an issue of principles or democracy, it’s a right-left issue. And the New York Times at least honestly admits that. Worse still, it’s an issue with the wrong sorts of people gaining power… democratically.
As our colleague Isabel Kershner, who’s based in Jerusalem, told us: “The basic divide is between the more liberal, largely more secular Israelis who want a pluralistic country with a tolerant and open society and the religiously conservative and right-wing forces who make up Bibi’s current government.”
They also make up parliamentary majorities.
Leftist parties have trouble getting elected unless they operate under false flag centrist parties like those of Lapid or Gantz that self-destruct once they cease to fool anyone. The Left ruled through the courts and governmental institutions which is why it’s freaking out ever so ‘tolerantly’.
So the problem isn’t “judicial reform”, it’s democracy. Everything else is a lie.
Leftists can’t win elections so they rule through unelected institutions like that court that are not accountable to anyone. Especially the people. And they’re protecting their coup by claiming to fight for democracy.
The New York Times finally admits what everyone in Israel knows.