Banning the Use of Nazi Symbols



On January 9, 2014, ACRI submitted its position to the members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs and requested that they oppose the passage of the Bill for the Prohibition on Using Nazi Symbols and Monikers.


This bill seeks to implement a sweeping ban on the use of “inappropriate” names and symbols associated with Nazis and the holocaust by imposing prison sentences. ACRI opposes this bill as it would severely restrict public discourse in Israel and damage the constitutional right to free expression.


The holocaust is a painful subject that is difficult to bear, and the non-sensitive use of holocaust symbolism can indeed cause pain to the feelings of many people. However, freedom of speech includes the right to say harsh and even offensive things. It includes the right to give expression to crude feelings, thoughts and positions and the right to use untasteful rhetoric and provocative imagery. The question of the social legitimacy of holocaust symbolism within political and public discourse is big question that deserves to be fully and freely aired and discussed amongst the wider public. It is not a question that should be addressed through criminal law.


Despite the request, the bill was approved by the Ministerial Committee and can now be brought before the Knesset plenum.


Related Materials

ACRI’s submission to the Ministerial Committee on the matter  (in Hebrew).

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression

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