‘Crossed a Red Line’: Israeli Right Slams Biden Comments on Judicial Reform as War of Words Escalates


Members of Israel’s Knesset from the governing right-wing coalition  slammed President Biden’s criticism of Israel’s judicial reforms on Wednesday, as rhetoric continued to escalate from both American and Israeli lawmakers.

“I feel that the statement given yesterday crossed a red line in the relationship between our two great countries. Friends do not act like this towards each other,” Likud MK Dan Illouz wrote in a letter addressed to the US Congress. “Please use all the tools at your disposal to make sure these types of problematic statements do not happen again.”

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3

Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miki Zohar on Tuesday deleted a tweet accusing Biden of being a victim of “fake news” about the judicial reforms.

“It breaks my heart to see how much damage has been done to Israel from all the fake news that has been spread in connection with our justified legal reform,” Zohar wrote in a follow up after the deletion.

Knesset Deputy Speaker Nassim Vaturi, also a Likud MK, questioned the reliability of the US-Israel security partnership in the wake of Biden’s comments and went so far as to accuse the Obama administration of having imposed an arms embargo during the 2014 war in Gaza that resulted in the deaths of Israeli troops. The Wall Street Journal in 2014 reported that the Obama administration had halted a military-to-military request for Hellfire missiles in order to individually scrutinize Israel’s arms shipments from the US.

The extraordinary pushback follows remarks President Biden made to the media on Tuesday that are among the sharpest criticisms that the US has yet made about Israel’s judicial reform proposals.

“Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned,” President Biden told the press Tuesday. “I’m concerned that they get this straight: They cannot continue down this road. And I sort of made that clear. Hopefully, the prime minister will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen.”

Asked if his comments constituted interference in Israel’s affairs, Biden said, “We’re not interfering. They know my position. They know America’s position. They know the American Jewish position.”

He added that he does not intend to invite Netanyahu to Washington “in the near term.”

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