Macron to Netanyahu: Proposed Supreme Court changes threaten Israeli democracy


(JTA) — French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if the Israeli government’s proposals to decrease the power of the Supreme Court become law, Paris will no longer consider Israel a “common democracy.”

Macron and Netanyahu, on his first trip to Europe since returning to power as prime minister, outwardly put on a warm show for press this week. But at a closed-door dinner on Thursday night, Macron said Netanyahu government’s proposals could amount to a political crisis, Le Monde reported. The Times of Israel confirmed the conversation with an unnamed source with knowledge of the dinner.

Netanyahu’s far-right government has proposed legislation that would allow members of the Knesset, or parliament, to overrule Supreme Court decisions. Knesset members would also have increased control over judicial appointments.

The proposals have supercharged a protest movement, incurred international criticism and energized the Knesset’s opposition, who echo Macron in saying that the changes would alter Israel’s position on the world stage. Israel’s financial standing could also take a hit.

France, home to the largest Jewish community in Europe, has long been one of Israel’s closest allies on the continent. Macron, a centrist, has been critical of conservative Israeli governments but has also equated anti-Zionism to antisemitism. He has sought to forge close ties with the French Jewish community in the wake of antisemitic attacks in recent years.