The Daily Interference in Israel’s Internal Affairs

T. Belman. Elliot Abrams blames the Whitehouse interference on pressure from the Israeli Left and the American Left. He fails to mention that even without such pressure, the Whitehouse has no compunction against criticizing Israel.

The Biden administration continues to interfere in Israel’s internal debate over the role of the judiciary, most recently adding unfair criticism of how demonstrations are being handled by police.

by Elliott Abrams, CFR        July 12, 2023

France has been swept by violent demonstrations, and one young demonstrator [17-year-old Nahel Marzouk] was shot and killed by police. CNN reported on July 4th that:

Nightly protests have erupted in cities across France and its overseas territories over the past week, with protesters expressing fury and accusations over how France’s marginalized communities are policed, and raising questions over whether race was a factor in Nahel’s death.

The French government has responded strictly to the continuing violent unrest, deploying more than 45,000 police and gendarmes across the country on Sunday night alone.

Over 2,000 people have been detained since protests began, with 157 detained overnight Sunday into Monday morning local time….

Israel is also  at Level 2, both because of the risk of terrorism and civil unrest, and because “There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning.” Unlike in France, the protests are non-violent, no one has been killed, and there are many fewer arrests—dozens, not hundreds or thousands.

Why this comparison? To highlight the very different reactions from the Biden administration. As to France (where President Macron’s pension reforms have elicited huge resistance) there is no desire to interfere in such domestic issues. There have been no comments to the effect that President Macron is riding rough-shod over parliament, France’s democracy is at risk, and the relationship between our two countries will be damaged if this continues.

But as to Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reforms, the administration has been interfering for months. President Biden has said “I’m very concerned….They cannot continue down this road.” He has also said “I hope he walks away from it.”

Most recently, Axios reported this on July 11:

The White House called on the Israeli government “to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly” after Israeli police made dozens of arrests and used force against protesters who rallied across the country against the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul.

Why it matters: The unusual statement by the White House on domestic issues of an ally like Israel signals the growing concern of the Biden administration about the escalating internal unrest in the country.

What they’re saying: “We urge authorities in Israel to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly. It is clear there is significant debate and discussion in Israel on the proposed judicial plan. Such debates are a healthy part of a vibrant democracy,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson told Axios.

This is only the most recent in a series of comments by President Biden, U.S. Ambassador Nides, and other officials. You will search in vain for a comment saying “we urge authorities in France to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly.” Instead, on March 30 the White House comment was “We support the right of people to protest and to express their opinions and to demonstrate peacefully there as we would anywhere.”

Note the difference: in the case of France, there is a general statement of principle with no criticism; in the case of Israel, the criticism is clear, and is part of a months-long campaign.

Why does the administration feel quite free to interfere with the internal politics of one democratic ally and not another? Here are two related reasons: In the case of France, critics of Macron have not sought such U.S. interference and pressure. In the case of Israel, opponents of Prime Minister Netanyahu have traveled to the United States and made almost daily appeals for this pressure. Second, there is no domestic pressure in the United States for criticisms of Macron while there is one for criticisms of Netanyahu. Many American Jewish groups and leaders have expressed their own opposition and invited—or demanded—U.S. pressure on Israel’s government.

The double standard in Biden administration treatment of the unrest in France and in Israel is evident. It is also quite problematic, because it creates a precedent that those who are today urging interference in Israeli domestic disputes may tomorrow regret. Unlike Israel’s policies regarding Iran, Egypt, Jordan, or the Palestinians, the role of its judiciary is about as “internal” an internal matter as can be imagined. Israelis are struggling—democratically and peacefully—over those domestic issues. They should be able to do so without U.S. interference–and without unfair and baseless suggestions that Israeli authorities are not protecting the right to demonstrate.


July 13, 2023 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. I agree that Israel should realize the Biden/Obama administrations were/are outright hostile to Israel. They are NOT allies. If intelligence co-operation continues, so be it. I believe Netanyahu represents a man who is determined to protect Israel’s national identity. This makes him an obstacle to Mr. Globalist’s dreams of a transnational government.

    In addition, the Biden administration represents the Marxist-Islamist Left, and Marxists cannot fathom any difference or distinction between a person who is a patriot and a person who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As bizarre as that sounds, this is how they think.

    They view Netanyahu as if he is wearing white robes and torching the homes of Palestinians, burning Stars of David on their lawns.

    Marxists-Islamists who want to empower Iran’s terrorism and Iran’s drive to rid Israel of Jews, are 100% opposed to the Zionist project, just as they are 100% opposed to Trump’s Make America Great Again project.

    They dress up their Jew hatred by presenting the Palestinians as victims instead of the murderous aggressors they are.

    They present Netanyahu as THE number 1 agent of harm in the Middle East!

    This is completely divorced from reality but from their perspective is useful propaganda and mind control for New York Times reading elites.

    It is important for Israelis to know that not all American Jews support Biden/Obama, and that many Americans, Jews and non-Jews, are firm Israel supporters. The American Jews who support Biden are a lost cause.

    In any case, Israel must form international alliances characterized by mutuality and respect. I do not think it is fruitful to look to the Biden administration for anything. It should not cause a crisis as it is no loss to lose an American administration that only wants harm to come to Israel.

  2. Israel should not complain about the refusal to meet the PM in Washington. Instead she should be indifferent to it.
    Bibi should arrange with Congress an invitation to speak in Congress to the American people.

  3. Provided that the Israeli government does indeed employ the plan and not continue to think about it, you have a point, Peloni 1986. My argument, however, does not refer specifically to Gaza; it concerns the continual interference in Israeli domestic matters (such as judicial reform) by a foreign government. That has to stop. My suggestion about breaking diplomatic relations comes from an event that happened nearly sixty-four years ago in, of all places, Canada. The Canadian government, which normally is quiescent and makes one think that jellyfish have a backbone, recalled its ambassador from Washington ‘for consultations’. This was tantamount to a break in diplomatic relations. The issue concerned placing nuclear weapons in the Beaumark missiles to be located on Canadian territory. The U.S. backed down and agreed that there were to be no nuclear warheads located in Canada. In short, forget about invitations to the White House and take off the gloves.

  4. @pdale5
    I think a better move might be to employ Kuperwasser’s Gaza Victory plan. It would establish Israel’s sovereignty. As Amb. Ettinger explains, such a policy change by Israel might all by itself lead the US back to its alliance with Israel, while also accomplishing a much needed victory over our enemies.

  5. The only way to deal with a bully is to confront him directly. I wonder if Israel should pick an issue in the U.S. and begin to meddle.

    At a government level, Israel should recall its ambassador ‘for consultations’ and declare the American ambassador to Israel ‘persona non grata’. These actions are tantamount to breaking diplomatic ties. Too bad, if it has to come to this, but Israel must protect its sovereignty.