More than 80 House Democrats signed a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday calling on him to intervene in Israel’s internal affairs and “use all diplomatic tools available” to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop advancing his government’s controversial plan for judicial reform.
The letter, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Con), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Jim McGovern (D-MA), the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, put the government’s attempt to reverse a power grab by the leftist judiciary on equal footing on foreign policy issues such as the conflict with the Palestinians.
In the letter, House Democrats expressed their “deep concern about the planned changes to Israel’s judicial structure, the fragile security situation in the West Bank, and the threat of partial or full annexation of certain areas which will be part of a future Palestinian state.”
“We urge you to use all diplomatic tools available to prevent the current Israeli government from further damaging the country’s democratic institutions and undermining the potential for two states for two peoples,” the letter said. readingaccording to a copy seen by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Americans cited Biden’s own comments about the importance of “strong institutions,” “checks and balances,” and “an independent judiciary” in any democracy.
Not all House Democrats are in favor of the letter.
Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Jared Moskowitz (D-Fl), both Jews, said in a joint statement Wednesday, “Israel remains our most important ally in the Middle East. It is also its own democracy.”
“Regardless of our personal views and concerns, Congress should not publicly interfere in the ongoing negotiations of a key Democratic ally,” they wrote. “Doing so, especially in a partisan manner, could harm those negotiations toward a positive outcome.”
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas criticized the Biden administration and House Democrats for meddling in Israel’s internal politics.
“Far from remaining neutral in Israel’s domestic affairs, Secretary of State Tony Blinken lectured [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu about judicial reforms in his face, quietly sided with the demonstrators, “he said. “Some Democratic senators also condemned the reform proposals. Which is very rich coming from Democrats, who voted to cut these ancient Senate rules to pack our Supreme Court and rewrite our Founding documents.
“I think when American liberals want to change the courts, it’s the only way to save democracy, but when Israeli conservatives want it, it’s a threat to democracy. Go figure,” added Cotton.