Netanyahu Blasts Judicial Overhaul Opponents for Silencing Free Speech


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the left-wing opposition for silencing the free speech of members of the government after a member of his party was prevented from speaking at Tel Aviv University.

The Times of Israel reported:

Netanyahu made the comments a day after anti-government protesters heckled Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, one of the architects of the overhaul plans, at an event in Tel Aviv, forcing him to leave. Netanyahu also mentioned several other incidents of anti-overhaul protesters interrupting events involving coalition lawmakers.

“In the name of democracy, in the name of freedom of expression, they prevented Simcha Rothman from speaking at Tel Aviv University,” Netanyahu said in a speech to the Knesset.

Netanyahu listed several other examples, and noted that many members of his party — including ministers — were subject to harassment in their homes and communities by opponents of his judicial reform legislation.

The opposition, in an effort at “whataboutism,” claimed it had been threatened by the right, without addressing the free speech issue.

Israel’s Minister of Education, Yoav Kisch, wrote to Tel Aviv University berating it for failing to uphold its own standards of academic freedom regarding conservative views on campus, while protecting left-wing views.

As Breitbart News has noted, many of Netanyahu’s proposed reforms simply parallel existing American practice. The Israeli judiciary has grown in power relative to the other branches of government.

The Israeli left opposes the reforms because the judiciary is one of the most important bastions of left-wing political and cultural power in Israel. Many left-wing Democrats in the U.S. Congress support the protests — ironically, because many of them also favor judicial changes far more radical than anything Netanyahu has proposed. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), for example, wants to expand the Supreme Court to 13 seats and to pack the resulting four vacancies with liberal justices.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.