Thursday, January 16, 2014

Israel May Ban Word "Nazi" Due to Anti-Semitism; Critics:Proposed Law Is Free Speech Infringement

The Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval yesterday to a bill that would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi -- or any other slur associated with the Third Reich -- or to use Holocaust-related symbols in a noneducational way, the Slate website reports today (January 16, 2014).

The penalty would be a fine of as much as $29,000 and up to six months in jail.

Backers of the law say it is a response to what they see as a rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world as well as an increasing, casual use of such terms. But critics -- including some with deep connections to the Holocaust -- say the proposed law is a dangerous infringement on free speech and an overreach impossible to enforce.

The bill must still be debated in a parliamentary committee, then go through a series of votes in the Knesset before it can become a law. An official close to the legislation process said today the bill would "most likely be killed" in the committee, adding that attorney general Yehuda Weinstein has deemed the bill unnecessary.

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