Israeli minister to Blinken: We don’t need to be lectured on democracy

Orit Strook rebukes Blinken over his veiled criticism of Israel’s judicial reform.

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli minister publicly rebuked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Tuesday, chiding him for expressing the Biden administration’s concerns over the Netanyahu government’s plans to reform the judicial system.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, National Missions Minister Orit Strook (Religious Zionist Party) accused Blinken of lecturing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on democracy during their meeting in Jerusalem Monday evening.

While the Israeli premier tried to steer the conversation towards his concerns regarding Iran and the Islamic regime’s nuclear aspirations, Blinken hinted at White House opposition to the Netanyahu government’s handling of the judicial reform plan.

“Throughout the relationship between our countries, what we come back to time and again is that it is rooted both in shared interests and in shared values,” Blinken said.

“That includes our support for core democratic principles and institutions, including respect for human rights, the equal administration of justice for all, the equal rights of minority groups, the rule of law, free press, a robust civil society – and the vibrancy of Israel’s civil society has been on full display of late.”

“The commitment of people in both our countries to make their voices heard, to defend their rights, is one of the unique strengths of our democracies,” Blinken said, referencing the recent protests against the planned judicial reforms.

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“Another is a recognition that building consensus for new proposals is the most effective way to ensure they’re embraced and that they endure.”

Israel and the U.S., Blinken continued, work best when they are “holding ourselves to the mutual standards we’ve established and by speaking frankly and respectfully, as friends do, when we agree and when we do not.”

Blinken again raised the issue during a meeting with President Isaac Herzog.

On Tuesday, Strook tweeted that Israel’s leaders do not need “a lecture on democracy.”

“Dear Mr. Blinken, I understand that you decided to give our prime minister a lecture on democracy. Well, democracy is first of all the duty of a country to determine its course according to the votes of its citizens, each of which is given equal weight, without foreign involvement.”

“Demonstrations, however legitimate they may be, are not equivalent to a ballot,” she stated.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid excoriated Strook for the comment, urging Netanyahu to “put Minister Strook in her place.”

“The Americans’ ‘foreign involvement’ that she is speaking out against includes $38 billion in aid, funding for Iron Dome batteries, Apache helicopters and the F-35 planes that are supposed to attack Iran,” he said.