Protests Against Netanyahu Spread to Europe, US

Israeli protesters attend a rally against controversial government plans to give lawmakers more control of the judicial system, Tel Aviv, February 4, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli protesters attend a rally against controversial government plans to give lawmakers more control of the judicial system, Tel Aviv, February 4, 2023. (AFP)
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Protests Against Netanyahu Spread to Europe, US

Israeli protesters attend a rally against controversial government plans to give lawmakers more control of the judicial system, Tel Aviv, February 4, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli protesters attend a rally against controversial government plans to give lawmakers more control of the judicial system, Tel Aviv, February 4, 2023. (AFP)

Demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were held on Sunday in 40 Israeli cities across the country as around 100,000 people gathered to protest against legal changes that could weaken the Supreme Court.

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in several European and US cities.

Protests were held in Berlin, London and Basel in Europe, Vancouver in Canada and Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York and Miami in the US.

People chanted slogans denouncing “Netanyahu's plan against harming democracy.”

Netanyahu’s coalition government is seeking to overhaul the judiciary, in what critics perceive as a threat to democracy.

Meanwhile, hundreds of commanders from the Israeli military will hold a 50-km march on Wednesday to protest against the PM and the government. The march will start from the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun to the headquarters of the Supreme Court in West Jerusalem.

General Tal Rousso, who heads the organizing committee, said the demonstration is important because it is led by Israel's most important commanders who will speak out to save the country from dictatorship.

He stressed that the march includes military figures from the right, left and center, as well as from all social strata and sects.

“We have always sacrificed our lives to save the country from enemies. Today, we find ourselves compelled to protect it from the enemies of democracy and the supporters of the government's plan to demolish the judicial system,” Rousso said.

Protests have been held in Israel for the past five week.

On Saturday, some 40,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv for two anti-government protests in the coastal city. They marched for two hours despite the rainy weather. Also, around 10,000 people took to the streets in Haifa and 5,000 people in Jerusalem.

Local media reported that protests were held in 40 cities across the country.

The demonstrators waved Israeli flags and banners reading, “No to the coup,” “No to half democracy” and “Criminal government ruled by corrupt people.”

The protests included activists of the liberal right and even from settlers and the religious right, who only raised the Israeli flag.

In Haifa, opposition leader Yair Lapid took part in the protest. He said: “We will fight here in the streets, we will fight in the Knesset, we will fight in the courts, we will save our country, because we refuse to live in an undemocratic country.”

The government plan to overhaul the judiciary will significantly limit the Supreme Court’s ability to review laws and strike them down.

It also includes passing a law that would allow the governing coalition to override Supreme Court rulings by a simple majority of 61 votes in the 120-member Knesset.



Biden Battles COVID and Democrats as Crisis Grows

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Biden Battles COVID and Democrats as Crisis Grows

President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Joe Biden walks down the steps of Air Force One at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joe Biden holed up at his beach house Thursday, battling both a bout of COVID and calls by senior allies for him to abandon his 2024 reelection bid.

While rival Donald Trump prepared for his star turn at the Republican National Convention, the 81-year-old US president found himself in both personal and political isolation.

The top Democrats in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, both reportedly met with Biden in recent days to warn that his candidacy threatens his party's prospects in November's election.

Influential former House speaker Nancy Pelosi added to his woes by privately telling Biden he cannot win and could harm Democrats' chances of recapturing the lower chamber, CNN reported.

Several party figures were meanwhile quoted anonymously by the Axios news outlet as saying that they believed the pressure would persuade Biden to drop out as soon as this weekend.

Biden has insisted he is not backing down, adamant that he is the candidate who beat Trump before and will do it again this year. Pressed about reports that Biden might be softening to the idea of leaving the race, his deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said Thursday: “He is not wavering on anything.”

"He's staying in the race," Fulks told a press conference on the sidelines of the Republican convention in Milwaukee.

"Our campaign is not working through any scenarios where President Biden is not the top of the ticket -- he is and will be the Democratic nominee."

California Senator Alex Padilla said Biden was "not skipping a beat."

"I know having spoken to him personally he's committed to the campaign," he added.

Using mountains of data showing Biden’s standing could wipe out the ranks of Democrats in Congress, frank conversations in public and private, and now, the president’s own time off the campaign trail after testing positive for COVID-19, many Democrats see an opportunity to encourage a reassessment.

Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he was "doing well."

His COVID diagnosis however came at the worst possible time for his campaign, forcing him to cut short a trip to Las Vegas and isolate at his holiday home in Rehoboth, Delaware.

The split-screen with Trump could not have been more stark, with Trump set to formally accept the Republican nomination in Milwaukee.

US networks showed images of frail looking Biden gingerly descending the steps of Air Force One in Delaware, in a week when Trump is lauded by supporters each night at a packed party convention.

Former president Trump, who at 78 is just three years younger than Biden, is riding a wave of support from his party after surviving an assassination attempt on Saturday that left him with a bandaged ear.

The United States could now be approaching the climax of an extraordinary three weeks in politics, which started when Biden gave a disastrous performance during a televised debate with Trump.

Biden blamed jet lag and a cold, but the fact that America's commander-in-chief has now fallen ill for a second time just as fears grow about his fitness for the job has merely intensified the panic in Democratic ranks.