Israel’s NY Consul summoned over anti-judicial reform comments

Israeli diplomat Asaf Zamir tells Foreign Ministry officials that he “stands behind” his public remarks criticizing the judicial overhaul.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s Consul General in New York, Asaf Zamir, was summoned to Jerusalem by the Foreign Ministry after he made critical remarks regarding a planned overhaul of Israel’s judicial system.

Speaking at a fundraising event for the Anu Museum in New York last week, Zamir said he was “deeply concerned” about the judicial overhaul.

Zamir stressed his worry “about the direction the country is going in right now” and said that “if we want a national home and we want it to be everyone’s home, it has to be democratic.”

A clip of Zamir’s comments went viral in Hebrew-language media, attracting the attention of Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Appointed by former prime minister Yair Lapid in 2021, Zamir is not expected to be immediately removed from his position, according to an Israel Hayom report.

However, as a diplomat representing the Jewish state, Zamir is expected to maintain a non-partisan position on Israeli government policies. Should Zamir continue to publicly express disapproval of internal legislative matters, he may be fired from his post.

David Roth, the deputy director of North America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contacted Zamir to inform him of his summons.

According to a Walla report, Zamir said that he “stands behind my words” and that he “said them from my heart.”

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In 2018, Zamir challenged longtime Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai in municipal elections. Zamir was easily defeated by Huldai.

Zamir, a member of the Blue and White party headed by Benny Gantz, became a member of Knesset in 2019. He served as tourism minister in 2020.

Yitzhak Zamir, the diplomat’s uncle, served as Supreme Court judge from 1994 to 2001.

After the current coalition government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in, two Israeli diplomats resigned from their positions in protest.

Israeli Ambassador to France Yael German and Ambassador to Canada Ronen Hoffman immediately quit their posts, rather than serve under Netanyahu.