American military assistance to Israel won’t be impacted by efforts by the Israeli government to undermine the judiciary, Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told reporters during a visit to Jerusalem on Monday.
24 Democratic members of Congress were traveling to Israel under the leadership of Jeffries, a congressman from Brooklyn and leader of the House minority.
After a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has stated that he likewise seeks broad consensus but has vowed to move forward with the judicial reform despite ongoing large-scale street protests, he talked to the media.
President Joe Biden’s position that laws modifying Israel’s justice system should only be approved with broad support was repeated by Jeffries. The first law in the package was passed in late July along partisan lines, with the right-wing ruling coalition supporting it and the Israeli parliamentary opposition abstaining.
In the brief press conference held at the King David Hotel in this city, Jeffries remarked, “It’s my hope that whatever continued efforts related to judicial reform occur, there’s a broad consensus across the ideological spectrum before additional changes are undertaken.
An entity connected to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is in charge of organizing the trip.
He continued by noting that Netanyahu had also assured him that Israel would continue to be a liberal democracy, adding, “It’s not my job to articulate the precise contours of what judicial reform should look like here in Israel.
The Israeli people must determine that through their elected officials and through their activities to petition the government to maybe choose a different course.
However, Jeffries stated that even if Israel’s government did wind up weakening its judicial branch, the United States would continue to provide Israel with military assistance.
Recently, voices on both sides of the aisle have been advancing that once-taboo proposition. Several Democratic members of Congress have urged the United States to impose restrictions on the use of the almost $4 billion in annual financing, and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof even raised the idea of completely cutting off aid to Israel.
Jeffries disputed that notion, citing a contrast between Israel and the United States’ shared commitment to democracy and their shared Middle Eastern geopolitical interests.
Jeffries emphasized the importance of an impartial and trustworthy judge.