´Ban on use of Nazi terms violates free speech´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azoulay Published: 05.29.12, 17:11)
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Justice Committee´s legal advisor says legislation aimed at outlawing
public use of swastikas, Holocaust-related epithets ´ban use of
entire category of expressions´
A legal opinion issued at the Knesset on Tuesday determined that four
controversial bills aimed at curbing public use of Nazi symbols
violate free speech.
The bills were introduced after symbols of the Holocaust were used in
demonstrations by ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem who felt
persecuted by objections to their efforts to achieve gender
segregation in public.
The proposed legislation would outlaw public use of symbols such as
swastikas, the term Nazi or epithets related to the killing of six
million Jews before and during World War Two. The bills would also
bar the wearing of striped uniforms similar to those worn by
concentration camp prisoners and outlaw the wearing of the yellow
Star of David or any other symbol used during the Holocaust.
All four bills were passed in a preliminary reading in the Knesset.
Violators would be subject to up to six months in prison and a NIS
100,000 ($26,000) fine.
In his opinion, the legal advisor to the Constitution, Law and
Justice Committee wrote "Despite the bills´ important goals, they
severely violate political free speech, which is at the heart of
freedom of expression. The courts have repeatedly ruled that free
speech under Israeli law extends to every expression, regardless of
"Free speech protects expressions that the public is averse to. The
said bills deviate from the accepted justifications to violate free
speech because they ban the use of an entire category of
expressions," he wrote.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who is behind the current proposal,
recently said, "Sadly, in recent years we have witnessed a growing
trend where Nazi symbols are used with flippancy and complete
disregard for the feelings of the Holocaust survivors and their
decedents. This use is completely illegitimate and it makes no
difference if those behind the use are Bilin rioters, haredim or
price tag criminals.
"There is great importance in anchoring these prohibitions in the law
in order to prevent the spreading of this trend in the future," Ariel
added. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/29/12)
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