Netanyahu’s judicial reforms will make Israel more democratic, not less, says Ben Shapiro

American Jewish conservative commentator takes aim at media over coverage of Israeli government’s plans to overhaul its judicial system.

By World Israel News Staff

Conservative commentators and Daily Wire cofounder Ben Shapiro endorsed the Netanyahu government’s plans to reform the Israeli judiciary, criticizing the Israeli Supreme Court’s judicial activism and excoriating American media coverage of the reform plan.

During a podcast on The Daily Wire, Shapiro argued that the reforms being pushed by the Likud-led coalition will make Israel more democratic, not less, calling the Israeli judiciary a “self-selected dictatorship.”

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) unveiled his judicial reform plan, which would include an “Override Clause” allowing the Knesset to veto Supreme Court rulings which overturn Knesset laws.

The reform would also give the government greater power in selecting new judges.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the plan, left-wing critics accused the new government of plotting a “putsch” aimed at crippling the judiciary and ending protections for civil rights, leading to major protests in Tel Aviv.

Shapiro defended Netanyahu and his government, accusing Israeli courts of judicial activism and overreach, upsetting the balance of powers between the branches of government.

“Benjamin Netanyahu has come under fire from the Left for pursuing a plan to democratize the Supreme Court of Israel,” Shapiro said.

The 39-year-old pundit and graduate of Harvard Law School also took aim at American media coverage of the controversy.

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“The media are so hypocritical about this stuff…particularly in the United States. The media in the United States keeps saying that Benjamin Netanyahu is some sort of fascist, that the newly-elected Knesset majority in Israel is some sort of fascist organization for seeking to…change the procedures for Supreme Court’s nominees… so that they are nominated by the Knesset or nominated by the Prime Minister and then confirmed by the Knesset, which sounds very much like the American system.

“Also, they want to make sure that because Israel has no constitution, the Supreme Court can’t make up some constitution and declare itself dictator. And somehow, this makes Israel more fascist. It is ridiculous.”

Currently, Israeli judges are selected by committee with a majority of members who are not elected by voters or selected by the government.

The nine-member committee is made up of the Justice Minister, a second cabinet minister, and two Knesset members – one from the coalition and one typically from the opposition – along with two representatives of the Israel Bar Association, the Supreme Court chief justice and two other Supreme Court justices.

“You have to understand exactly how the Israeli judiciary works. It is essentially a self-selected dictatorship. The way that Israel selects its judiciary is absurd.”

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“There’s no constitution in Israel,” Shapiro explained. “In the United States, the Supreme Court says, ‘We are speaking in the name of the Constitution, we are striking down an unconstitutional piece of legislation.’ Israel’s Supreme Court says the same thing, but there is no constitution in Israel, so they’re basically just saying, ‘Whatever we don’t like, we can strike down.’”

“Not just that, the Knesset never gave that power to the Supreme Court, and the way that the Supreme Court is selected in Israel is absurd.”

“In the United States, the way it works is the president picks somebody for the Supreme Court. That person goes through an advice and consent process from the Senate, and then is confirmed.”

“In Israel, the way Supreme Court judges are selected is they are appointed by the president of Israel, who, again, is not the Prime Minister, from a list submitted by three current Supreme Court judges. They pick their own successors.”