GOP’s Haley, Rubio slam Biden for rebuke of Netanyahu over judicial overhaul

Nikki Haley, the Republican hopeful of the White House and Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, went on Wednesday to the President of the United States Joe Biden for his surrender to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and for the highly controversial judicial reform of his government.

“It is appalling for Joe Biden to lecture Israel on a topic that concerns them completely,” Haley tweeted. “We would not want the Israeli government to pressure America on issues related to our Supreme Court, and they would not do it. We should let Israelis decide for themselves.”

Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations during the Donald Trump administration, has long touted her pro-Israel bona fides as part of her campaign to secure the top slot on the Republican Party ticket for 2024 election. However, she faces competition from, among others, her former boss and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

It is widely assumed that Biden is running for re-election.

Meanwhile, Senator from Florida Marco Rubio, who has previously expressed discomfort about the security situation that is occurring amid the Israeli government’s plan to shut down the High Court, suggested that Biden’s comments are a threat to Israel.

“If Hezbollah, Hamas or Iran attack Israel during these dangerous days then Joe Biden will decide to get involved in Israeli politics,” Rubio tweeted.

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina, March 28, 2023, en route to Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who also expressed discomfort with the plan, wrote in a series of tweets about a call he had with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that “Israel and the United States have an unbreakable bond.”

The latest and most severe blow to the bilateral relationship – which has slowly deteriorated since Netanyahu returned to office three months ago at the head of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history – came on Tuesday when Biden was asked about the state of the Israeli democracy. and the judicial overhaul planned by the prime minister before boarding Air Force One.

The president responded that he expected Netanyahu to “walk away” from his current judicial reform legislation, and that he was “very concerned” about the health of Israeli democracy. “They cannot continue down this road. And that’s clear to me,” Biden said. “I hope the prime minister will act… to work out a real compromise, but that remains to be seen.”

Biden also gave an emphatic “no” when asked if he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, adding: “Not soon.”

Netanyahu responded shortly after saying that he respects Biden’s friendship and long-term commitment to Israel and emphasized that the US-Israel alliance is “unbreakable” and can overcome differences. The chief executive also said that his government is committed to correcting what he claims is an imbalance of power between Israel’s three branches of government but that he wants to do so with as broad a consensus as possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset, March 27, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

However, Netanyahu closed by dissing Biden, saying that “Israel is a sovereign country that makes its decisions according to the will of its people and not based on pressure from abroad, including the best of friends.”

On Wednesday the White House praised Netanyahu’s comments in an attempt by the Biden administration to lower the temperature following tensions between the US and Israel.

The radical nature of the judicial reform being promoted by the Netanyahu government has put additional pressure on bilateral relations that are already being tested by Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. Israel’s attorney general has warned that the legislative package — which would give the coalition almost total control over all judicial appointments, and would radically restrict the High Court — would give the government almost unfettered power, without providing any institutional safeguards for the rights of the individual or the community. the democratic character of the nation.

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