WATCH: Kamala Harris Picks Fight with Israeli Government at Independence Day Bash

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Harris' whirlwind tour of Japan and South Korea this week amounts to a microcosm for the state of her vice presidency: an ambitious, historic and increasingly confident …
Leigh Vogel/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris picked a fight with the Israeli government during remarks at an Independence Day reception hosted by the Israeli embassy in Washington on Tuesday evening, criticizing proposed judicial reforms in Israel.

The event was meant to highlight the close ties between the U.S. and Israel after 75 years of Israeli independence. But Harris appeared to ad-lib a criticism, triggering a diplomatic spat.

The Times of Israel reported:

The not-so-subtle allusion to the Biden administration’s opposition to the efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government to radically curb the power of the High Court of Justice was included in a 14-minute speech that was largely effusive in its praise of the Jewish state.

“Under President Joe Biden and our administration, America will continue to stand for the values that have been the bedrock of the US-Israel relationship, which include continuing to strengthen our democracies, which… are both built on strong institutions, checks and balances — and I’ll add an independent judiciary,” Harris said to applause from many of the 2,000 people listening in the auditorium of the National Building Museum, including Shirin Herzog, the wife of Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog, who was seated onstage behind the vice president.

There was no applause however from far-right Religious Zionism lawmaker Simcha Rothman, one of the architects of the judicial revamp, who has been in the US for the past several days and was invited to the event.

The remarks were captured on video, and Reuters provided additional context with footage of ongoing protests by Israel’s left-wing opposition to the idea of reforming the world’s most powerful judiciary:

In response, the Jerusalem Post reported, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen said that Harris had no idea what she was talking about:

Cohen said that the vice president “would not be able to quote from a single clause from the judicial reform” after Harris said Israel’s judiciary must remain independent, referencing the government’s controversial judicial reform.

“I don’t know if she read the bills or not, I would guess not,” Cohen continued.

Cohen later issued a clarification: ““I have deep respect for our ally the United States of America and for Vice President Harris, a true friend of Israel,” he said.

The Biden administration has considered radical proposals for judicial reform, including packing the Supreme Court by adding four extra seats and filling them with liberal justices to undermine the conservative majority and the independence of the court.

The White House is backing Israel’s opposition over the issue of judicial reform, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposals generally reflect current practice in the United States. President Joe Biden has refused to invite Netanyahu to Washington since Netanyahu was democratically elected six months ago.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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