Protesters Outside High Court: “This Isn’t Iran!”
Demonstrators accuse Supreme Court of ‘judicial piracy’, blast judicial interference in in the Knesset.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered this morning (Monday) outside of Israel’s High Court of Justice in Jerusalem to protest against what they dubbed the “undemocratic actions” of the court.
The demonstration, organized by the pro-Israel watchdog group Im Tirtzu, was held in response to a leaked recording of the High Court proceedings against former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein from March 25.
The recording, which was leaked last night, revealed the High Court along with Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon discussing ways to overrule the Knesset by transferring some of Edelstein’s powers to Labor head Amir Peretz, the most senior member of Knesset, in what they dubbed a “surgical operation.”
The demonstrators insisted that the High Court crossed a red line by unlawfully interfering in the Knesset’s agenda and giving an order in direct contravention to the Basic Law of the Knesset.
Due to the current health crises, the organizers stated that the demonstration was coordinated with the police and adhered to the Health Ministry regulations. Anyone who acted in violation of the regulations was asked to leave, the organizers said.
The demonstrators chanted slogans including “stop stealing our democracy” and “this isn’t Iran,” held a symbolic prayer for Israel’s democracy, and called on the courts to stop their “judicial piracy.”
Acclaimed legal scholar and former United States federal judge, Richard Posner, was the first to coin the term “judicial pirate,” which he labelled former Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak who was responsible for Israel’s “constitutional revolution” that gave more power to the courts.
Responding on Twitter to the leaked recording, former Justice Minister Haim Ramon (Kadima) called it an “outrageous display in which the judiciary tramples the legislature and breaks a new record of judicial activism.”
Orly Lev, a social activist who participated in the demonstration, said: “The judges have forgotten that they aren’t elected officials. Why should we even vote if the judges are the ones who end of making the decisions and not our elected officials?”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who also participated in the demonstration, said: “The High Court justices have turned themselves into all-powerful rulers who can act however and whenever they please, and anyone who holds democracy dear must speak out against this.”
“Time after time,” continued Peleg, “the High Court acts like a political actor with utter disregard to Israeli democracy, which endangers the future of the State of Israel. The time has come for the judges to end their judicial dictatorship and realize that this is a democracy, not Iran.”
Eytan Meir. Director of External Relations & Development
Im Tirtzu – Building the Zionist Dream
Im Tirtzu is a Zionist non-governmental organization based in Israel. Its name is derived from an epigraph appended to the frontispiece of Theodor Herzl’s novel Altneuland, ‘if you wish it, it is no fairy-tale,’ rendered into modern Hebrew in Nahum Sokolow’s translation in 1903, as Im tirtzu ein zo agadah.