Famed US lawyer, defender of Israel, opposes legal overhaul


TEL AVIV, Israel — Prominent U.S. attorney Alan Dershowitz, long adamant in defending Israel’s policies on the international stage, said Sunday he could not defend far-reaching judicial reform planned by the new government of Israel.

The proposals call for an overhaul to limit the powers of the judiciary, including allowing lawmakers to pass laws that the Supreme Court has rejected. The reforms would give politicians more power over how judges are selected and limit the independence of government legal advisers, among other steps.

Legal reforms are needed to strengthen the current coalition government, which is led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and includes conservative conservative nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties who seek ways to advance their agenda through less judicial oversight.

Dershowitz said the reforms pose a threat to civil liberties and minority rights in Israel.

“If I was in Israel, I would join the protests,” Dershowitz told Israel Army Radio, referring to a protest in Tel Aviv on Saturday against the reforms that attracted thousands.

“It will make it much more difficult for people like me who are trying to defend Israel before the international court of public opinion to defend them effectively,” he said. “It would be a tragedy to see the Supreme Court weakened.”

It is unusual to hear Dershowitz, who has written best-selling books in support of Israeli policies and is close to Netanyahu, strongly opposes the proposed reforms. Dershowitz said he recently informed Mr. Netanyahu of his “very strong, negative stance” on the reforms, saying they would also expose Israel to legal challenges by the authorities. global agency. such as the International Criminal Court.

The reforms could also help Mr. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, evade a sentence or watch his trial disappear altogether. Dershowitz said he believes Mr Netanyahu agreed to the reforms not to save himself from conviction but to appease the partners in his new governing coalition.

Critics accuse the government of declaring war on the rule of law, saying the plan would overturn Israel’s system of checks and balances and undermine its democratic institutions by giving away Israel’s democratic institutions. absolute power for the most right-wing coalition in the country’s history.

The government says the plan strikes the right balance between the executive and judicial branches while streamlining governance and legislation.


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