Israel may seek tougher line against incitement


Under a bill being considered, no call to an act of violence or terror deserves to be protected by the principle of freedom of expression.

By Revital Hovel. HAARETZ

The Justice Ministry is considering lowering the evidence criteria for incitement to violence or terror — lower than had been envisioned by former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who was fired last week.

Last month, Livni said she aimed to tweak the definition of incitement to violence in order to come down harder on extremists without significantly undermining freedom of expression. The requirement for an indictment would be “reasonable probability” that the call to violence would be carried out.

But according to a new memo crafted by the ministry, probability would not have to be considered — simply the call to violence.

“The current situation, under which a call to an act of violence or terror … is not prohibited in and of itself could lend legitimacy to violence in general, and violence in the public discourse in particular. It does not sit with the basic values upon which Israeli society is founded,” the memo states.

“A call to an act of violence or terror deserves condemnation in the criminal realm as well, even if it is insufficient to lead to violence or terror. It does not deserve to be protected by the principle of freedom of expression.”

The bill would be submitted in the next Knesset, which at this point is not expected to meet until after the general election scheduled for March 17. The election was called last week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired two ministers to his left: Livni of Hatnuah and Finance Minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid.

A similar attempt to lower the evidence bar was made in 2006, but the bill did not get past the first reading in the Knesset.

Discussions on amending the law were revived after alleged incitement during and after the Gaza war last summer. Officials at the State Prosecutor’s Office, Public Security Ministry and attorney general’s office all considered such a move.

In the past three years there have been 30 charges of incitement to violence, incitement to racism and incitement to racism in sports — the latter based on the law prohibiting violence in sports. There have been 20 indictments.

December 9, 2014 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. @ Yidvocate:

    I think Mr. Yidvocate you yourself should travel to Israel and when there personality and vociferously reprimand their behaviors. It is a talent [ reprimands] to which you seem most singularly suited.

  2. @ Ted Belman:

    Well and fine Ted, but what if the anti-Jewish Jewish authorities use it go after Jews who like most of your commentators, as you so aptly point out, voice their utter frustration with the intolerable? Israel has all kinds of laws on the books, like treason and criminal sanctions for even discussing giving away land to Arabs, but they are never acted upon.

  3. I totally agree with this law. the only trouble is that too many of my commentators would be arrested. 🙂
    But really our problem is not Jews calling for the killing of Arabs but Arabs calling for the killing of Jews or other forms of incitement. Effectively this Bill would usher in zero tolerance for incitement. It would greatly reduce both the incitement and the need to try those who break the law. There will be no defense other than to deny having said it.

  4. Fight the left in America and Israel with in your face truth with facts to back them up!.

    Quote from the NYPOST :

    There were 228,000 misdemeanor arrests in New York City in 2013, the last year for which there are audited figures, and every one of them had at least the potential to turn into an Eric Garner-like case.
    None did.
    So much for the “out of control” cop trope. So much for the notion that everyday citizens — or even criminals with the presence of mind to keep their hands to themselves — have something to fear from the NYPD.

  5. @ LtCol Howard:

    Every such law is a double edged sword; just as the British mandatory laws were and are today.

    The Justice ministry wants more power to prosecute certain Jews. They never had if they wished any problem in indicting and prosecuting Arabs.

    The Justice ministry, the police and Shabak and the high court are not Jew friendly in fact they are more than not very unfriendly towards certain Jews.

  6. Unfortunately, I would not trust the Israeli authorities with such a power. Currently the Justice administration and the courts would use it against Israelis.