Israeli Legislation Would Ban Use Of The Word ‘Nazi’

JERUSALEM (CBS DC) — A proposed Israeli bill would make it illegal to use the word “Nazi.”

The hate-crime bill proposed by Likud MK Shimon Ohayon would ban the use of the word “Nazi” and any sort of Nazi and Holocaust symbols, including swastikas and the Yellow Star of David. The bill carries a six-month prison sentence and a $28,000 fine, according to The Times of Israel.

Under the legislation, “Nazi” would only be allowed “for the purpose of learning, documentation, scientific study or historical accounts.”

The bill states: “Insulting someone by expressing the wish, hope, or anticipation for the fulfillment of the Nazis’ aims, or expressing sorrow or protest that they were not accomplished — [is] forbidden.”

“As long as Israel does not prohibit such use of symbols, we cannot complain against such phenomena,” Ohayon told The Times of Israel.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein objected to the bill, saying it violates Israel’s constitution.

“The definitions of ‘Nazi name-calling’ and ‘Nazi symbol’ are very broad, vague and subject to interpretation,” Weinstein said in a letter obtained by Haaretz. “This ambiguity could have a chilling effect and prevent the use of phrases that were not meant to be forbidden, or include under a criminal ban behaviors meant to be dealt with in the public sphere.”

The bill does have support. On Sunday the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the bill and passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset Wednesday.

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