Biden Warns Netanyahu to Abandon Judicial Reform Bill

biden warns netanyahu to abandon judicial reform bill
Lior Mizrahi / Getty

U.S. President Joe Biden called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to abandon the first of his government’s judicial reform bills, which is due to be voted on by the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Monday.

Biden issued a statement as Netanyahu was still in the hospital, having had a pacemaker installed this weekend after doctors detected an irregularity in his heart. Barak Ravid of reported on Biden’s message:

President Biden in a statement to Axios called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to move forward with the planned Israeli Knesset vote on a bill that is part of the government’s judicial overhaul, saying he is highly concerned about the legislation and its potential implications.

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 said in the statement.

As Breitbart News has reported, the first of Netanyahu’s judicial reforms would stop courts from overturning government policies on the basis of what unelected judges — many with left-wing views — find “reasonable.”

Israel’s courts have used the “reasonableness” doctrine to block actions by the conservative governments that have been elected frequently by Israeli voters in the past several decades. Left-wing protesters have taken to the streets across the country, and thousands of military reservists have declared that they will not serve if the bill passes. But the tactics of the opposition seem only to have motivated Netanyahu to press ahead with the vote.

The overall reform package includes at least four proposals, many of which parallel existing judicial practice in the U.S. and other democracies. Netanyahu paused the legislative process this spring after similarly vehement protests, and invited the opposition parties to negotiate a compromise. But when talks broke down, he decided — as promised — to press ahead, albeit in piecemeal fashion, with the least controversial proposal moving first.

Last week, after a visit by Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, Biden suggested that the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel could be in danger if the reforms passed. Herzog told Congress the opposite: in an address to a special joint session, Herzog said that “we will always be family,” despite disputes. did not report that Biden wished Netanyahu well, or a speedy recovery, as part of his statement.

Biden has not yet invited Netanyahu to visit him at the White House, though Netanyahu won last year’s democratic elections. The White House said last week that a meeting will happen, but did not say where.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Authored by Joel B. Pollak via Breitbart July 23rd 2023