In a dramatic abridgement of political and general speech, a new Israeli bill aims to criminalize any use of Holocaust-related terms or symbols in “non-educational’ contexts, threatening $29,000 fines and six months imprisonment to violators.
The bill aims primarily at ending the use of comparisons to Hitler in political discourse, which is the go-to response in almost every major topic in Israel and which officials say is making debate more difficult.
Though backers of the bill say they believe Israelis can find plenty of other expressions and idioms to use in future speeches, the law could also severely limit the speech-giving options of most of Israel’s political leadership on the international stage.
In particular, it is going to be hard for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others to find things to talk about in Holocaust memorial speeches when they are visiting Europe, since the law would seemingly preclude likening whoever happens to be the president of Iran at any given time to Hitler, and that’s what literally all those speeches end up being build around.
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