Under new bills proposed by Labor MK’s, calling somebody a “Nazi” might land you in the clink.
According to a bill proposed by MK Colette Avital (Labor), anyone using Nazi terminology or symbolism lightly would face a prison term of up to seven years behind bars.
The Knesset is considering two legislative proposals submitted by Labor party MK’s that would impose stiff penalties on anyone using Nazi terms, symbols, or imagery in every-day discourse.
The bills outlaw the term “Nazi” or other words carrying a similar connotation. The bills also outlaw symbols of the Holocaust, such as concentration camp style prison garments, yellow Stars of David, and swastikas.
Despite the stiff penalty, Avital’s bill passed a Knesset committee by a vote of 14-3.
Many MKs, such as Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party, who strongly opposes the legislation, claim that it places unreasonable limitations on freedom of speech.
Eldad claims that the bill will “silence” legitimate freedom of expression. As an example, he mentioned the recent mini-campaign by opponents of the disengagement to wear orange Stars of David, symbolizing the intensity of their disapproval of the government’s plant to destroy 21 Jewish towns and villages and expel the residents from their homes in Gaza and Northern Samaria.
And what about Israel’s most eloquent statesman Abba Eban? MK Eldad asks whether his famous comment about pre-1967 borders being “Auschwitz borders” would have landed him a term slicing potatoes for the Prison Services.
MK Avital said that freedom of expression should “have its limits,” pointing out that Israel has backed similar legislation in other countries.
Labor MK Yuli Tamir, who drafted one of the bills, said that “public discourse must be free of Nazi terminology.”