Israeli judge declares homophobic political ads linking gay people to child trafficking are legal

The judge stated billboard companies could not turn down business from far-right political parties.

Political ads with Hebrew writing on a billboard by a highway, skyscrapers behind

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel made the decision that homophobic political ads put out by the far-right Noam Party could not be turned down by billboard companies.

Problems arose when two advertising companies – Knaan Media in Motion Ltd and Y Mor Advertising Ltd – declined to sell a billboard and space on the sides of buses to Noam – a religious conservative political party. Noam had intended to run a series of political ads posing the choice: “[Gay] Pride and the buying of children, or having my son marry a woman – Israel chooses to be normal.” Another asked: “Reform [Judaism] or my grandson remains Jewish – Israel chooses to be normal.”

The advertising companies argued that not only were the political ads offensive towards a large percentage of the country’s population, but that by being associated with them it would cause the companies a loss of reputation and future business.

Noam appealed the decision, which led to Justice Hendel stating that, unlike regular advertisements, no matter the content advertisers could not refuse election advertising. He ordered the companies to pay the political party’s legal fees, declaring, “A duty of equality includes the commitment to publish election propaganda of all parties and lists, including those whose values are different from those of the advertising agency.”

The Noam Party are pointedly homophobic and have declared in the past that LGBT+ people have “forced their agenda” on Israel.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of people protested Israeli officials who through their actions, incite violence against the LGBT+ community. At the time, Councillor Etai Pinkas-Arad stated, “When the country is full of inciting billboards, when our religious leaders are willing to sacrifice our blood, and the Education Minister wants to convert us (Rafi Peretz, who spoke in favour of conversion therapy), then some people are hearing that message and are taking action.”

The protest occurred following the stabbing of a 16 year-old boy outside the LGBT+ youth centre where he was seeking refuge from his ultra-religious family. Israeli politician, Issawi Frej, added, “Words have meaning, even words that are multiplying in the public sphere against the LGBT+ community. We must as a society maintain respectful discourse and fight any manifestation of hatred based on sexual orientation, nationality, skin color or any other definition.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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