Many expected major disagreements between legal experts Alan Dershowitz and Eugene Kontorovitch in their debate on judicial reform, but in the end, it turns out they both agree on the major points of the reform, though each perceive the Israeli Supreme Court through very different prisms. Dershowitz puts on his rose-colored glasses when he talks about the Israeli Supreme Court and the Attorney General.
Alan Dershowitz raises the most important point at the beginning of the discussion, the only reason there are protests in the streets is because the reforms were brought up by this government. If these same reforms had been brought up by any other Israeli government (which discussed them in the past), no one would care. He said the protests against judicial reform is a surrogate for “we don’t like Netanyahu, Smotrich and Ben-Gvir.” He criticized American Jews for even getting involved.
In fact, Dershowitz said most people protesting the reforms have no idea what they are even protesting against.
Dershowitz points out the worst thing these reforms will do is make Israel into a democracy like Canada, New Zealand, or Australia.
Dershowitz argues that the debates would make Israel more democratic, as it would mean majority rules, though he is against weakening the judiciary. He repeatedly said these reforms would strengthen Israeli democracy.
Not to say that Dershowitz agreed with Kontorovich on every detail, but he agreed that a lot needs to be changed. On the other hand, Dershowitz fell into the same trap he mentioned earlier of blaming Smotrich and Ben-Gvir for not compromising.
Dershowitz wants to change the justice selection process, but not as far as the current reforms does. His major issue of contention is that he wants to the court to have permanent override on human rights issues, which he doesn’t believe any elected government would really protect, and only an “elitist” court would and could.
Kontorovich pointed out that the Israeli Supreme Court has historically not been a protector of equal or minority rights.
Most surprising is that Dershowitz said Israel needs an override law (a check on the checks), even if it is one that is more difficult to implement. Dershowitz also agreed that the issue of standing has gone too far under Ahraon Barak and needs to be moderated.
And finally, Dershowitz criticized the economists that wrongly claim the judicial reforms would harm the economy. None of the reforms impact the economy. He said the opponents of the reform are weaponizing the economy against the reforms. He called the IDF reservists’ refusal to serve outrageous.