Man charged for making life threats on Ahmed Tibi on Facebook

"I say why live ammunition and arrests, simply wipe them from the face of the earth with their 'innocent' neighbors. Ahmed Tibi, I'll be more than happy to put a bullet through your head."

By AVISHAI GRINZAIG/MAARIV
July 22, 2019 09:35
2 minute read.
MK Ahmed Tibi at a Nakba Day rally in Ramallah, May 15, 2019

MK Ahmed Tibi at a Nakba Day rally in Ramallah, May 15, 2019. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Tel Aviv Magistrate Court convicted Roi Meir on Sunday for making life threats against MK Ahmad Tibi.

According to the indictment, a video clip was posted on the Facebook page of the news website 0404: "Watch: Live bullets and fireworks, the Arabs are celebrating the end of their final exams. Even in an IDF drill there isn't so much shooting as they do today in one neighborhood."

Meir responded to the video in the comments by saying that "And Ahmad Tibi cries that the police uses live ammunition when they carry out an arrest. I say why live ammunition and arrests, simply wipe them from the face of the earth with their 'innocent' neighbors. Ahmed Tibi, I'll be more than happy to put a bullet through your head."

Tibi filed a complaint to the police, and Meir claimed during his interrogation that he wrote it without any real purpose. "I did not threaten, I wrote what I was more than happy to do, I did not write that I was actually going to do. I wouldn't really kill."

The interrogator asked Meir what he wanted Ahmad Tibi to feel when he wrote his comment, to which the defendant replied that he intended for Tibi to "let him understand that he is hated," to which the interrogator wished to know what Meir would gain out of that. Meir in turn responded: "Nothing. It's just Facebook. No one is going to kill on Facebook, I just wrote a post. There's a whole world between a Facebook post and murder. If I had real intentions, I would not have written it on Facebook."

Justice Itay Hermlin stated in the verdict that "the offense of threats indeed reduces the freedom of expression of the individual, which is a fundamental constitutional right, but that is by conscious choice of the legislator. Denying the ability to make threats harms the freedom of speech, but that is for protecting others of the threat."

"Some would claim that words are just words, thus they should not be censored. That is not the court's approach. One of the reasons is that protecting the freedom of speech to unveil the truth is irrelevant to sounding threatening words," Hermlin further claimed.

Hermlin also noted that "It is possible that the use of Facebook's internal tools that allow the removal of offensive content using internal complaint and removal mechanisms is more effective and therefore more suitable for dealing with the phenomenon of violent discourse on this network, but there is no doubt that the Internet in general and Facebook in particular are not legal exteriors where law does not apply."

"Threatening a Knesset member as a public emissary limits the Knesset member's ability to act in the name of the public that sent him to the Knesset and on his behalf, thereby harming democracy itself," Hermlin concluded.


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