Two bills are making their way through the knesset that would effectively outlaw use of the word ‘Nazi’ in common discourse. The bill alos bans, according to The Jerusalem Post:
Nazi-style prison garments, yellow Stars of David of the type distributed by the Nazis, swastikas and the word “Nazi” or words with a similar meaning or intention.
Ummn, I hate to impose any ivory-tower considerations, but what how can words, as opposed to people, have intentions?!?
In any case, one bill proposed a 7 year maximum punishment for violation of the law. Its author, MK Collete Avital of Labour, agreed to diminish the sentence in response to government opposition. “Even freedom of expression should have limits,” Avital claimed, arguing that it would be hypocritical to ask other countries to show no tolerance for casual use of such slurs and symbols without showing a similar intolerance in Israel itself. A second bill, introduced by MK Yuli Tamir (Labor), would impose a fine.
The right wing of the MK members presented objections, invoking issues related to freedom of speech and, oddly, a clever Seinfeld-defense:
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), who voted against the bills, said they were a grave affront to freedom of expression and in effect an attempt to “silence” opinions. Such a law would prevent the broadcast of Seinfield’s Nazi joke about soup, Eldad said, or the wearing of a yellow or orange Star of David.
I, for one, would not want to live in a country where the soup nazi episode was banned.