VP Harris attack judicial reform after learning MK Rothman was in audience – report

Vice President Harris reportedly took aim at Israel’s judicial overhaul only after she learned that one of the plan’s architects was present at the event.

By World Israel News Staff

Vice President Kamala Harris took a thinly-veiled jab at the Israeli government’s judicial reform plan at an event hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Washington this week after she learned one of the plan’s architects was present, Ynet reported Thursday.

On Tuesday, Harris spoke at an event hosted by the Israeli Embassy celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

In her comments, Harris made a dig at potential reforms to Israel’s judicial system and insinuated that Israel’s court should remain in its current form.

“Under President Joe Biden and our administration, America will continue to stand for the values that have been the bedrock of the U.S.-Israel relationship, which include continuing to strengthen our democracies, which… are both built on strong institutions, checks and balances — and I’ll add an independent judiciary,” Harris said to a crowd of thousands in Washington, D.C. on Monday evening.

Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, a prominent legal scholar who drafted much of the framework for the reforms, was seated in the audience when Harris made the remarks. He did not applaud after the statement referring to the independent judiciary.

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On Thursday, Ynet cited an American source who said Harris made the comment after learning that Rothman had made a last-minute appearance.

According to the embassy, Rothman was not on the original guest list, and had been added just before the event took place, at the behest of the Foreign Ministry.

“Shortly before the event, the Foreign Ministry informed us that MK Rothman contacted them and informed them of his intention to come to Washington and requested to be invited to the embassy event.”

“We regret that the public focus on this event, which brought great honor to the State of Israel, is centered around the question of the presence of Member of Knesset Rothman. The Embassy of Israel is not a political entity and requests not to be drawn into political discussions. It represents the State of Israel with dignity and respects the elected officials of the State of Israel accordingly.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (Likud) blasted Harris for her comments, accusing her of ignorance regarding the overhaul.

Cohen said during a recent trip to Washington, “I heard comments from [Biden administration] officials [against the reform.] I asked them, ‘What exactly bothers you [about the legislation]?’ And no one knew what to tell me.

“I don’t know if [Harris] actually read the laws. My assessment is that she did not.”