Anti-judicial reform protesters shut down Tel Aviv
Anti-judicial reform protesters shut down Tel AvivTomer Neuberg/FLASH90

The US State Department pushed back Monday on claims that the Biden administration is funding the anti-judicial reform protests in Israel, calling the accusations “completely and demonstrably false.”

Speaking with reporters at a briefing Monday, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said that while the administration supports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision Monday to freeze the judicial overhaul, the US has not supported the anti-reform movement.

“We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise. And compromise is precisely what we have been calling for, and we continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible.”

“We believe that it’s the best path forward for Israel and all of its citizens. Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest base of popular support.”

“This is something that you know the President had the opportunity to recently discuss with Prime Minister Netanyahu that democratic principles have always been and must remain a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Regarding claims – including those pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, that the Biden administration is funding anti-reform organizations, Patel noted that US funding for groups now actively challenging the reform ended late last year, before the most recent Knesset election.

“These accusations are completely and demonstrably false. The Movement of Quality Government is a NGO, and it received a modest grant from the State Department that was initiated during the previous administration, and the latest disbursal of funds came in September of 2022, prior to the most recent Israeli elections.”

“And this grant supported an educational program for Jerusalem schools that supplemented their civic studies curriculum.”

“Any notion that we are propping up or supporting these protests or the initiators of them is completely and demonstrably false.