Late last month, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was condemned universally, when everyone but Ann Coulter called him a racist and a bigot for suggesting federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel should have recused himself from the Trump University trial because his parents were born in Mexico, and he, Trump, as he so aptly put it, is “building a wall.” Trump went on to tell various reporters that although the judge was born in Indiana, he must be a Trump hater, on account of “I’m building a wall.” He also told one reporter that the same obligation to recuse themselves should also apply to Muslim American judges in Trump-related cases (the candidate generates thousands of them, literally).
The fact that both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky) called on their party’s nominee to tone down the racism should tell us just how much they loathed his outburst.
On Friday morning, Ha’aretz op-ed writer Uri Misgav, in reviewing the recent Supreme Court decision that sided with the Chief Rabbinate and against the AG in prohibiting “alternative” kosher certifications, wrote the following:
“The ruling was by a majority of two to one. The two judges who preserved the corrupting power in the hands of the Rabbinate were Rubinstein and Noam Sohlberg. Both wear a yarmulke, [and are] religious Orthodox, who grew up and developed on the high road of Religious Zionism. They put the cats in charge of the cream. This was a very strangely composed panel. In fact, it was so strange that it’s not strange at all: of course it was intentional. With the assumption that it’s better to let the religious handle these issues which are close to their hearts. Except that the logic should have been the complete opposite of that. There’s a clear conflict of interests here. At stake was the tension between state and religion. The secular judge, incidentally, had the minority opinion.”
The paragraph above is dripping bigotry, not only accusing supreme court judges of being unable to examine a case on its merits, suspending their personal views—which is something we expect of every judge in every trial—but that somehow the powers-that-be on the court assigned the two religious Orthodox judges because the case belongs in their ghetto. The root of Trump’s bigotry and the root of Misgav’s bigotry are the same: they both assume that judges belonging to the group they hate are inevitably partial, interested parties in the cases they try.
But then Misgav focuses on Judge Sohlberg, calling him a criminal, because he resides in Alon Shvut, at the heart of Gush Etzion, an area which even Misgav agrees will never be handed over to Arab rule, even as part of a two-state agreement. Writing for a newspaper that has printed many miles of allegations against rightwing activists and politicians who have threatened the Supreme Court for its unprecedented activism, Misgav actually exposed Sohlberg to prosecution by a European court as a war criminal. The scenario is simple: Judge Sohlberg lands in Brussels, someone on the same El Al flight identifies him and calls over the Gendarmes, showing them the English translation of Misgav’s attack, demanding that Sohlberg be taken into custody until the war crime charges against him are verified. Unrealistic? Probably, but when MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) last summer announced, “We have to take the blade of a D-9 [bulldozer] to the High Court of Justice,” Ha’aretz took his expression of rage at face value.
It appears Ha’aretz is willing to see Israeli high court justices’ lives be put in jeopardy just to advance the paper’s political ends. So much for tolerance and liberalism.David Israel