July 24, 2023 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) today expressed profound disappointment over the passage of the Reasonableness Standard Law in Israel.
The new law was pushed through unilaterally by the governing coalition amid deepening divisions in Israeli society as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have taken to the streets. Of particular concern to AJC, the continued effort to press forward on judicial reform rather than seeking compromise has sown discord within the Israeli Defense Forces at a time of elevated threats to the Jewish homeland and has strained the vital relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.
While many Israelis agree that some reform of Israel’s judicial system is warranted, AJC has consistently maintained that reform to the institutions core to Israeli democracy should only be adopted on the basis of the broadest possible consensus. That is why we have been strongly supportive of President Herzog’s efforts to find compromise. President Herzog’s successful visit to the United States last week reminded us that a thoughtful and pragmatic approach can gain support across political lines.
From the outset of the judicial reform process, AJC has expressed our firm belief that dramatic changes to Israel’s judicial system should result from a deliberative and inclusive process that upholds the democratic values of maintaining checks and balances, respecting minority rights and civil liberties, and preserving essential judicial independence.
We continue to support President Herzog’s efforts to promote national dialogue and call on the parties to resume talks under his auspices. We are gravely concerned about the long-term impact of continued unilateral efforts, and we urge the governing coalition to refrain from taking any additional steps unless compromise is reached. Less than one month ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly stated that the most controversial of the proposed reforms, the so-called “override clause,” would not be part of any judicial reform. We urge the governing coalition in the Knesset to adhere to the Prime Minister’s commitment.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.