Thursday, January 05, 2012
The Supreme Need to Fix the Israeli Supreme Court
The Supreme Need to Fix the Israeli Supreme Court
For years I have been claiming that Israel has a politicized dual justice system, where one set of rules operates for leftists and another for everyone else. For years I have been insisting that the Prosecution or Attorney General's Office in Israel is partisan and politicized and biased.
I of course have not been the only person saying such things. But now such accusations carry new weight because very similar comments to my own are being made this week by … (drumroll) … Israel's Minister of Justice, Yaakov Neeman. Neeman is lashing out against the Attorney General for the latter's bias and arbitrary partisanship in prosecution. See this report: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/sources-israeli-justice-minister-accuses-state-prosecutor-of-indicting-too-quickly-1.405502
But Neeman is going further than that. To explain what he has been doing, you need to understand the structure of Israel's judicial system. For many years it has been subordinated to the anti-democratic doctrines of "judicial activism" promoted by the radical Left. This doctrine holds that leftist judges should be allowed to dictate governmental policy in all things, and just make up the rules and laws as they go along, in ways that appeal to the Left.
Israeli anti-democratic judges insist that non-elected judges have the right to dictate decisions to the elected representatives of the people, to overturn and veto laws passed by the representatives of the people, and simply to invent imaginary mandates and "rights" that must be upheld, even when the parliament refuses to approve them. These days, the cult of judicial tyranny is known as the "Beinisch Clique," named after the current leftist Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch. She has never hidden her leftist political agenda nor her devotion to "judicial activism."
However the more proper name for this cult of anti-democratic judicial tyranny is the "Aharon Barak Clique," because all of its members are groupies and followers of the previous Chief Justice, Barak.
Israeli judges are selected by a panel or commission for the selection of judges, in which sitting judges are the dominant force and the majority of the panel. So, in effect, the unelected judicial elite gets to perpetuate its powers of control over the judiciary by selecting other new judges who toe its ideological line. And the appointees cannot be impeached and removed, except by the same panel (and it never does so). This is why the Far Left has continued to control Israel's Supreme Court and many of its other courts even during the decades in which the Likud and the "Right" were nominally in power.
There have been initiatives in the past few weeks to change that. First, a law was just passed that cancels the requirement that the Chief Justice must be a sitting Supreme Court judge for at least three years. The proposal was designed to allow Judge Asher Gronis to serve as Chief Justice. Known as the "Gronis bill," it serves to revoke the three-year requirement that was passed by a previous government as part of ITS own Byzantine machinations to block someone else from being Chief Justice at that time. Gronis is an intelligent and moderate person (ideologically) who rejects judicial activism. And that is why the Left is hysterical over the "Gronis Bill," claiming it is a fascist assault against democracy. In reality, what really has them upset is that the hegemony of the Far Left over the court will be weakened with Gronis as Chief Justice. This is "anti-democratic" only if you believe the government elected by the people of Israel should never undo or challenge the leftist hegemony over the court being exercised by those NOT elected by the people of Israel.
In addition, a bill stands before the Knesset that would change the composition of the panel that selects the judges, increasing the weight of the non-leftists there. In particular it would appoint two more reps who explicitly reject the judicial activism of the Left and who are NOT associated with the Beinisch Clique, which until now has dominated the panel.
But there is now a new problem. Every time the Likud is in a position to exercise some power as the elected government and to challenge the hegemony of the Left, Bibi Netanyahu gets a bad case of frigid feet and spaghetti vertebrae. Netanyahu's legacy as Prime Minister will best be remembered as one of cowardice and capitulation. Bibi thinks that if he vetoes and blocks every single initiative by the Right to rein in the Left, then the leftist media will like him and pander to him.
Netanyahu's first fete of cowardice was when he failed to re-appoint Prof. Daniel Friedmann to a new term as Minister of Justice. Friedmann had been leading the charge against judicial activism under the previous government. Later Netanyahu vetoed at the last minute the initiative to require transparency with regard to the foreign funding of hostile anti-Israel extremist NGOs operating in Israel. And now he has just come out AGAINST the initiative to change the composition of the panel for selection of judges. Ending the hegemony of the Left and of the unelected anti-democratic Beinisch Clique over the selection of judges is suddenly "undemocratic," opines Netanyahu. The irony, of course, is that the countless displays of cowardice by Bibi never gain him any sympathy from the leftist-controlled media, which continue to demonize him and crusade against the Likud.
Meanwhile, Neeman is getting more and more outspoken about other things as well, just as Bibi gets more and more pusillanimous. Neeman is now cited in the Israeli media as comparing Haaretz, the far-leftist anti-Zionist Israeli daily, to Der Sturmer, the German Nazi newspaper of the 1930s. Yes, Virginia, the Minister of Justice dared to use a Holocaust-era image in political discourse. I mention this because, as you know, several anti-democratic judges ruled in the Gordon harassment SLAPP suit against me that the use of Holocaust era rhetoric and images is prohibited speech in Israel and constitutes libel when used in political criticism by conservative critics of leftist traitors. Such rhetoric is of course perfectly permitted for everyone else. So if, for example, you say that a traitor is a "Judenrat wannabe" when that person serves as an accomplice to terrorists after illegally entering Ramallah to act as a human shield to interfere with Israeli military actions, you would be considered to have committed defamation. Calling for the mass murder of the Orthodox or of Israeli non-leftists would however be protected speech. So Neeman's comments illustrate once again that Israel's judiciary, all the way up to its Supreme Court, are anti-democratic opponents of freedom of speech for non-leftists.
The leftist media are opening up with all guns against Neeman and against anyone else who seeks to challenge the leftist hegemony over the courts. A petition against the Gronis Law signed by many of Israel's worst tenured Leftists appears in this week's newspapers. While Haaretz smears Neeman, it cheers the return to the Supreme Court of the leftist judge Yoram Danziger, who had been suspended from sitting on the bench for a few weeks due to his myriad corrupt and dirty ties to the most corrupt and dirty municipal politician in Israel. The problem of course is that the leftist Danziger was investigated by the very same partisan leftist Prosecutor's Office in Israel that is the focus of Neeman's denunciations now. And that office just could not find even a smidgen of illegal or unethical activity on the part of Danizger. Actually, I suspect that the ONLY people in Israel who are NOT aware of Danziger's dirt are the people who work for the Attorney General.
So Danziger has been reseated on the Supreme Court bench. This is the same Danziger who ruled a few months back that the lying propaganda movie "Jenin Jenin," smearing Israeli troops as having committed mass murders in Jenin, is not slander. The producer of that movie, Mohammed Bakri, himself admitted that his movie is a tissue of defamatory lies. But Danziger ruled it is not libelous. Was Danziger's return now to the bench his political payoff for that ruling?
Oh, Haaretz by the way has a new cosmic cause that has made it upset. It seems that the Military Rabbinate, the rabbis who serve in the military, distributed some brochures with a photo of the Temple Mount, showing it without the presence of the mosques, which were completely erased. The Western Wall and its plaza are in the photo, but no mosques. Haaretz is incensed. Racism! Incitement! You would need to read the small print of the news report to see that the brochure in question was actually about the Hasmonean Temple Mount and how it looked during the period of the battles of the Maccabis against the Greeks, celebrated in Hannuka. And I know it is Islamophobic incitement to say so, but there were no mosques on the Temple Mount back then!