Ethics code is yet another step in making Israel fascist, says Herzog

Opposition leader stresses need for open discourse to advance freedom.

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June 12, 2017 23:23
1 minute read.
Isaac Herzog

Isaac Herzog will remain party leader for the time being.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Trying to silence lecturers in academics with an ethics code is another step in making Israel a fascist country, opposition chairman MK Isaac Herzog said in the weekly Zionist Union faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday.

The recently released ethics code, which mandates lecturers not express their political viewpoint in class, is a continuation of the government activities in seizing freedoms from Israeli citizens, he said.

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“Those who harmed – in the most severe way – the freedom of speech... Those tried to revoke authorities from the Supreme Court and supported seizing land... those who made a career by inciting... we shouldn’t let them impose a silencing code on the great research institutes of Israel,” Herzog said. “This a morally broken code.”

Herzog added that allowing debate has been a major factor in allowing the Jewish people to thrive throughout its history.

“This is what gave our people livelihood and power for thousands of years,” he said.

“It is a severe act that harms one of the greatest powers among the Jewish people and the State of Israel – the right to argue and to express a different opinion – Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai.

“When you are muzzling poets and authors, artists and actors, judges and journalist and now academics – it as a dangerous step toward fascism,” he added.

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Herzog also expressed his support in Ram Shefa, the chairman of the Union of Israel Students, who on Sunday defied advancement of the code.

Shefa said that he supported the idea of protecting students holding different political points of view, but added that the code misses the point.

“The idea that one can restrict speech and thought within the academy is fundamentally flawed, because, yes, everything is political and it is impossible to separate politics from other fields of life, especially in the academy,” he said.

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