Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Supreme Need to Fix the Israeli Supreme Court

The Supreme Need to Fix the Israeli Supreme Court

By Steven Plaut

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

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,

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

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!

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