Israel's bid to ban 'Nazi' insults and slang sparks heated debate

A proposed bill in Israel aims to keep the word Nazi and related symbols contained to places like the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. (Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)

A proposed bill in Israel aims to keep the word Nazi and related symbols contained to places like the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. (Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)

Listen

The Israeli government is considering a bill that would ban the use of the word "Nazi" and other Third Reich imagery and language outside of a historical or educational context. Those who disobey the proposed law could face up to six months in jail, and a fine of 100,000 shekels (roughly $30,000 Cdn).

For insight on the controversial idea, Jian speaks to Shimon Ohayon, the Israeli politician who introduced the bill. Ohayon says symbols like the swastika and Star of David lose their meaning when they are casually thrown around, or appropriated for political reasons.

He also speaks to Haaretz journalist Allison Kaplan Sommer who offers insight on the heated public debate sparked by the bill. Critics -- including the editors of her historic newspaper -- argue that a ban on specific words and symbols is a significant threat to freedom of expression.

What do you think? Is it wrong to use the word Nazi or other historically loaded terms as insults or as slang? Or should freedom of speech trump even the most hurtful use of language?

If you liked this, you may also like ..
.



Homeland's Gideon Raff is captivated by captivity









Rabbi Susan Silverman on her "balls-out civil disobedience"









Mel Brooks two-part interview bonanza!









Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.