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´Ban on use of Nazi terms violates free speech´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azoulay Published: 05.29.12, 17:11)Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4235641,00.html YNet News - Yediot Achronot YNet News - Yediot Achronot Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 its influence.

"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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