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The death of Jewish democracy

Supporters of the judicial overhaul love to point to the United States’ example of politicians appointing judges as a good one. But the story of the US’s politicization of the courts is nothing short of tragic.  First, the obvious drawback of letting the Israeli government control the highest court in the land is the constant shadow of undue political influence on judicial decisions. 

When a judge knows he was appointed by a member of a government of a particular ideology, he will most definitely keep that in mind while making decisions. We don’t even need to be talking about bribes or blackmailing, the simple fact of the identity of their appointer would drive the judge to be making their verdicts along certain ideological lines. 

The most apparent example of this happened just last year, in the United States. The question of abortion was answered by a court packed to the brim with the most anti-choice judges President Trump could find. The same judges who decided that a pregnant person’s choice was no longer relevant, stated in their hearings before Congress, that in their eyes, Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. We all know how that turned out. 

These bald-faced lies are eerily similar to Netanyahu’s assuring words, that “Israel will stay a liberal democracy”. As a commenter on the internet remarked, for every breath Bibi takes, two lies come out of his mouth. 

Proclaiming that the US system that lets the President appoint judges is anything related to a functioning and democratic one is completely and utterly ridiculous. If anything, the US should be a prime example of how to not set up an anti-democratic judicial system. 

Let’s not argue about how democratic Israel or the United States is, because the two sides that argue for opposing sides are never going to agree. Neither of them is, by the way, but if Israel wants to ‘keep being democratic’, it cannot let politicians, who are never only led by their high ideals decide who gets to make verdicts on democracy’s behalf. 

Supporters of the judicial overhaul act as if representative democracy is some perfect system, much like the defenders of capitalism act when faced with an alternative. Representative democracy was never popular with anyone, on any side. Everyone hates that the politicians they choose are not really defending their voters. So why is it, when it comes to the overhaul, its supporters act like they love their chosen representative’s every move or legislation? 

The answer is, the ‘reform’ would allow the politicization of the courts, combined with the Knesset passing any legislation its majority likes. In the current government’s case, this includes laws targeting every possible minority in and around the country, including Arabs, Palestinians, the LGBTQIA+ community, and of course, women. 

When Roe v. Wade was overturned the US was livid. Two-thirds of Americans support abortion being legal, but we still call their country a democracy. Democracy is the rule of the people, the masses, not ideologically blinded individuals, who work on behalf of corporations, and billionaires, but never the masses. Because working for everyone is communism. Whatever that word means in an American context. 

So, simply put, the American politicization of the courts should show the world, and especially Israel that making politicians choose judges means the death of modern democracy. 

Fred Hidvegi