Monday, July 31, 2023
For immediate release
Contact: William Epstein, 610-505-6105
DJOP urges PA Congressmembers to cosponsor
resolution supporting democracy movement in Israel
Democratic Jewish Outreach PA (DJOP) today urged the state’s members of the US House of Representatives to cosponsor a resolution supporting the pro-democracy movement in Israel.
The measure, House Concurrent Resolution 61, was introduced last Thursday by U.S. Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL-9th) with the cosponsorship of 12 House members, including Pennsylvania Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-4th) and Susan Wild (D-7th.) It has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Jill Zipin, DJOP Chair, said the resolution supports the need for Israel to remain a democratic nation as right-wing members of the nation’s parliament, the 120-member Knesset, last week pushed through the first part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s measures to weaken the power of Israel’s courts. The move came in spite of months of massive street protests and international pressure against the action.
“H. Con. Res. 61 supports the need for Israel to be a Democratic nation and opposes any actions that undermine Israel’s future as the Jewish democratic state,” Zipin said.
“The relationship between our nation and Israel is based on shared democratic values. We must support the protesters in Israel who want to protect and defend Israel’s democracy. Just as our democracy must be protected and defended here in the U.S., it must be protected and defended in Israel, as Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people.”
Zipin said DJOP board members agree with the hope of the sponsors of the resolution “that it will serve as a warning to the Netanyahu government to reverse its course.” She added:
“DJOP stands with the pro-Israel democracy protesters and opposes the Netanyahu administration’s attempt to weaken the independence of Israel’s judiciary.”
- Con. Res. 61 states, “Congress stands with all Israelis seeking to defend liberal democracy, judicial review, and independent political institutions acting in a system of checks and balances.” It declares, “Congress opposes actions that undermine Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic State.”
Netanyahu and his supporters have moved to curb the power of Israeli courts as the Prime Minister is in the midst of a trial on charges that he and his wife received valuable gifts from wealthy businessmen, that he discussed legislation that would harm the largest newspaper in Israel, and that he violated Israeli law when he headed the telecommunications company Bezeq. He is charged with fraud, breach of trust and receiving bribes.
The Israeli Bar Association is reported to be preparing a legal challenge to the Knesset’s vote.