ZOA Hails Knesset’s Passage of Bill Curbing Israeli Court’s Subjective “Reasonableness” Standard as a Victory for Democracy and the Rule of Law

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The Zionist Organization of America strongly supports and praises Israel’s democratically-elected Knesset for passing the first part of much-needed judicial reform. The new law prevents the Israeli Supreme Court from striking down or reversing democratically-appointed government officials’ actions simply because the Court’s self-appointed, unelected left wing judges believe that the government’s actions are not “reasonable.” Thus, existing judicial tyranny has been diminished.

There were hundreds of thousands of Israelis in Tel Aviv rallying in support of this judicial reform (video below), yet the media in Israel and America neglected to report this.

The reform is a victory for democracy, the rule of law, a democratic balance of powers, and is curbing judicial tyranny in Israel. The “reasonableness standard” was abusive, violated democratically-passed laws; was used to oust a democratically-elected minister; and subjective: What’s unreasonable to one person is reasonable to another. There was no criteria for judging “reasonableness”: It was simply the judge’s political or personal opinion and worldview! And when you have an Israeli Supreme Court with an overwhelming left wing majority with no diversity, you get rulings not reflecting the law or the people. I’m sure if the Court had an overwhelming right wing majority, the people in the streets opposing judicial reform would be supporting it.

Passing the first part of judicial reform is also a victory over the unelected radical Left’s attempts to impose “mob rule.” It is also a victory over unlawful foreign interference, including the U.S. State Department’s unlawful funding of a major protest organizer, the misnamed “Movement for Quality Government” (MQG). The Israeli people have wanted judicial reform for years and elected a government that campaigned to finally pass judicial reform. It would be an anti-democratic travesty to allow Israel’s democratic process to be thwarted by the left wing mobs who obstructed vital roads and Israel’s airports, sometimes acted violently, and even tried to block Knesset members from entering the Knesset to vote today.

Distinguished U.S. jurists Richard Posner and Robert Bork condemned Israel’s Supreme Court as enlightened despotism in contrast to democracy and having excessive power and over-reach that no Court in the world has or should have. Former U.S. Appeals Court Judge, U.S. Solicitor General and Yale Law School Professor Robert Bork detailed two decades ago that Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak made Israel into the nation that had the worst “judicial deformation of democratic governance. . . . The Israeli Supreme Court is making itself the dominant institution in the nation, and authority no other court in the world has achieved.” (“Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges,” by Robert H. Bork, AEI Press, 2003, p. 111.) The situation only became worse since Judge Bork wrote those words.

The law passed today is an important first step for strengthening democracy in Israel.

But, much more needs to be done to democratically reform Israel’s judiciary, including requiring litigants to have standing (as is required in the U.S. and other democratic nations); requiring larger panels for certain decisions (instead of allowing two members of a three-judge panel to make major decisions); curbing the excessive, undemocratic and tyrannical power of the attorney general; and reforming the judicial selection system, to end the current absurd system in which judges have the ability to veto and hence control the selection of their successors. (See, e.g. Israeli Judicial Reforms are Good for Democracy and Rule of Law,” by Morton Klein and Elizabeth Berney, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2023.)

Hundreds of Thousands of Israelis in Tel Aviv Rallying in Support of Judicial Reform | July 2023

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