Friedmann slammed again for criticizing High Court

Paz-Pines says justice minister carrying out 'targeted assassination.'

friedmann bein 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
friedmann bein 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A weekend interview given by Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, in which he accused the Supreme Court of behaving like a religious party, rekindled on Sunday the acrimonious debate between the minister's supporters and those of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. Labor MK Ophir Paz-Pines called on Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to speak out against Friedmann's attacks on Beinisch and the court. "Friedmann is carrying out a targeted assassination of the Supreme Court and its head, contrary to his responsibilities," wrote Paz-Pines. "[His attacks] cause contempt of court and damage to public confidence in the institutions of justice. They contain harsh elements of populist incitement against the court that cause virtually irreparable damage to the image and status of the judicial system in Israel." Meanwhile, retired deputy Supreme Court president Mishael Cheshin charged that the cabinet and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were failing in their duty to stop Friedmann. "This state belongs to Danny Friedmann," said Cheshin. "He is the minister of justice, one of the cabinet ministers. But where are the rest of them? They are responsible for everything he says, and none of them speak up or utter a word. I don't understand it. Some are apathetic, and some are pleased [with Friedmann.] One way or another, they are responsible for what is happening here." Cheshin also criticized Olmert because he "does nothing to solve the problem. I haven't heard the prime minister speak out. He talked high and mighty about the need to strengthen the courts, but I don't see it happening. Nothing is standing in Friedmann's way." In a long interview with Yediot Aharonot that appeared in the Friday weekend news magazine, Friedmann said, "I compare the situation today to what people said in 1977, when the Alignment [the name of the Labor Party at that time] lost power and [Menahem] Begin was elected premier. They said he had stolen the country from them. Here we have a group [the Supreme Court justices] that is behaving like someone stole the justice system from them. The courts were theirs, and someone took it from them. The statements made against me are very emotional and sometimes false. It is hard to understand how people who are responsible for the truth say things that aren't true and repeat them." In another section, Friedmann said, "The Supreme Court behaves like a political party. Furthermore, it behaves like a religious party. It does things that I don't believe any other court in the West would dare do. It conducts propaganda, lobbies journalists and Knesset members and holds meetings with MKs. The lobby has damaged the neutrality of the court. " It has created a situation in which some political parties support the court and others do not. Afterwards, these parties come to the court with petitions."