Gisha appeals Israel Radio ban on ad

IBA: Ads that criticize gov't decision to not allow Palestinian students out of Gaza too controversial.

fulbright denial 224.88  (photo credit: AP)
fulbright denial 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The human rights organization Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement on Wednesday appealed against a refusal by the Israel Broadcasting Authority to air a paid radio ad protesting the government's refusal to allow university students from the Gaza Strip to study abroad. An IBA spokesman told The Jerusalem Post the authority had also banned a paid ad by the "Headquarters to Save the People and the Land" which used the word "expulsion" to describe the 2005 disengagement. The spokesman said both ads had been submitted by organizations with a political agenda and were in violation of the regulations dealing with paid commercials drawn up by the IBA. Last week, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition calling for the cancellation of the regulations prohibiting the airing of "politically controversial" commercial ads in the IBA and the Second Authority. The petition was submitted in 2003 by the "National Census" which promoted a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Gisha ad included statements by three prominent Israelis, former Education Minister Yossi Sarid, author and song-writer Yehonatan Geffen and author and actress Alona Kimchi. In the ad, Sarid says, "Hello, this is Yossi Sarid. The right to education is a fundamental right. No country in the world may deny this right. Israel may also not deny this right. "However, the State of Israel is preventing hundreds of Palestinians from leaving Gaza for studies abroad. In so doing, the government is preventing these young people from becoming all they can and have the right to be. We all need to learn, Gaza students included." Asked about the IBA's explanation of its refusal to allow the commercial to be aired, Sarid said, "Let them broadcast both ads, as far as I am concerned." But he also rejected the spokesman's indirect claim that the IBA was acting evenhandedly against political ads from both sides of the ideological spectrum. He said that the IBA had broadcast ads calling on the Jewish community to visit Hebron, even when these events automatically generated a curfew on the Palestinian population of the city. Sarid also said there was no comparison between the two ads. "In our case, we are talking about one of the most fundamental human rights. I didn't regard this issue as involving ideological camps. I can find many right-wing people who will support the right to education. It is not a divisive issue." Meanwhile, the Headquarters to Save the People and the Land has petitioned the High Court of Justice against the IBA decision to ban its ad.