Several Jewish organizations have openly expressed their profound disappointment and concern over the recent passage of the Reasonableness Standard Law in Israel on Monday, emphasizing the need for dialogue and consensus.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) voiced its concerns stating, "AJC today expressed profound disappointment over the passage of the Reasonableness Standard Law in Israel."
They further noted the importance of a broad consensus, particularly when it comes to reforms that are at the heart of Israeli democracy. In supporting President Herzog, the AJC mentioned, "We have been strongly supportive of President Herzog’s efforts to find compromise."
Statement from the ADL
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) out of New York remarked, “We are deeply disappointed that the Israeli government passed the controversial Reasonableness Bill, failing to heed the call of President Herzog and others to reach a compromise rooted in a broad societal consensus."
The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) in the UK jointly stated, “Both the Board of Deputies and the JLC have been supportive of the efforts by President Herzog... and we are deeply disappointed that, at this stage, the efforts have failed."
Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Jewish Federation of Boston, shared their thoughts via social media, tweeting, "CJP is following the unprecedented news in Israel in light of the passing of the reasonableness law. It is painful to see the level of polarization and division within Israeli society right now."
These statements from various Jewish organizations reflect a global concern within the Jewish community, underscoring the importance of dialogue and consensus in Israel's decision-making processes.
The Reform Movement in North America expressed grave concerns over the recent decision curtailing Israel's Supreme Court's powers. Describing it as "a sad day for Israel’s democracy," the Movement condemned the amendment that restricts the Supreme Court's ability to overrule government decisions based on the "reasonableness" standard.
Criticizing the coalition, they stated, "We vehemently condemn the strongarm tactics of the current coalition... which imperils Israel’s already-fragile democracy." Pointing to a missed opportunity, they mentioned that the concerns of many Israelis and Jews worldwide, including protesters, have been "ignored and rejected."
Drawing parallels with the upcoming holiday of Tisha Be’Av, they noted the historical consequences of internal divisions, commenting that Israel "is being threatened by extremists."
Reiterating their commitment to Israeli democracy, they emphasized support for the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and concluded optimistically with MK Gilad Kariv's words, "We lost this battle, but we will win in the end."
Amy Spitalnick, CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) in the US, has added her voice to those expressing concern over the amendment. Spitalnick said, “More than ever, the Israelis fighting for democracy need to know that American Jews are with them. We are. This is our fight too – and the vast majority of American Jews believe in a Jewish, democratic Israel that lives up to its founding values of equality, freedom, and justice for all."
She further highlighted the challenges democracy is currently facing, saying, “At a moment when democracy is under threat in different ways both here in the US and in Israel, it feels like a particularly precarious and daunting time to be an American Jew."
Despite these challenges, Spitalnick affirmed a commitment to uphold democratic values, stating, "we have no choice but to continue the fight, and to stand in solidarity with both our Israeli family and all communities standing up for democracy in the face of unprecedented threats.”