Bill banning use of ‘Nazi’ nickname makes a comeback

The bill would institute a fine of up to NIS 100,000 without proof of damages against anyone using the word ‘Nazi’ or Nazi symbols in speech or in writing.

February 4, 2018 11:24
2 minute read.
Nazi Swastika

Nazi Swastika. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Legislation that would make it illegal to call someone a Nazi is back on the Knesset’s agenda, with Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer planning to submit it.

Forer’s amendment to the Law Against Holocaust Denial would institute a fine of up to NIS 100,000 – without proof of damages – against anyone using the word “Nazi” or Nazi symbols in speech or in writing.

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A Nazi symbol is defined as a swastika or “any other symbol that clearly shows a connection with the Nazi regime.”

However, under the bill, uses of the name Nazi or Nazi symbols “for the purposes of study, documentation, scientific work or historic reporting” would not be considered a civil offense.

Similar legislation was proposed in the 18th Knesset, by now-Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and MK Yoel Hasson, now of Zionist Union, and in the 19th by Shimon Ohayon of Yisrael Beytenu. Both bills passed early votes, but did not become law, with an election being called before the legislation could be completed.

Forer’s bill would also make expressing admiration for or identification with the Nazi regime a crime equal to Holocaust denial, which is punishable with up to three years in prison. It would do the same for display of Nazi symbols “in public, in a gathering, in a march or other situations in which his behavior has broad publicity in order to express admiration for the Nazi regime or its principles or identifying with them.”

Forer said, “Lately, we see a deterioration in the discourse by politicians, public figures and sports fans. We cannot compare the horrors during World War II to everyday incidents in the State of Israel.”

“When MKs, writers and public opinion leaders allow themselves to speak in a way that shames the millions murdered and the thousands of survivors who live in Israel, we cannot let that stand,” he added.

The bill comes several days after Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg called coalition MKs “friends with Nazis” in a Knesset Interior Committee discussion of the impending deportation of African migrants.

In addition, in the past 10 days, both houses of the Polish Parliament approved a bill making it illegal to say the Polish people were complicit in Nazi crimes, sparking an uproar in Israel and wallto- wall condemnations by Israeli politicians.

Historian Jan Grabowski estimates that some 200,000 Jews were killed by Poles during the Holocaust.

An Israeli bill responding to the Polish proposal – which would make denying or minimizing the involvement of the Nazi’s helpers and collaborators fall under the offense of Holocaust denial – was signed by 61 MKs, the majority of lawmakers.

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