Unintended consequences of prohibiting advocacy of hatred and regulating campaign finance: The weakening status of freedom of speech in Israel

Barak Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A central dilemma in human rights law is how to reconcile the government's duty to respect freedom with its obligation to protect individuals that might be harmed by the exercise of said freedom. Intolerance toward the dissemination of certain illiberal positions may have adverse social and political unintended results. One central concern is that such a policy would create a common culture that does not appreciate the critical importance of a vibrant public discourse. As such, it might enable governments, in terms of popular legitimacy, to curtail speech beyond the limits of justifiable infringements. Recent developments in Israel illustrate this concern. In recent years, normatively legitimate antiracism legislation was unjustifiably expanded by imposing sanctions on expressions that were deemed harmful to national sentiments or questioning the legitimacy of Israel's Constitutional Identity as a Jewish state. Similarly, laws against the support of terrorism were followed by prohibitions on advocating boycotts against Israel. This Article proposes to halt the sociological slippery-slope trend of curtailing speech far and beyond the permissible scope of such a policy, by implementing rules-based legal doctrines that may foster a stronger public pressure on the government to protect free speech; restricting the scope of "harm-in-one-step"approach; and providing a clearer definition of the requirement of state neutrality in the context of regulating speech.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)804-820
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Constitutional Law
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

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