Anti-Democratic Knesset Bills - by Stephen Lendman
Netanyahu's government is its most extremist ever.
Knesset summer session bills grievously harm civil and human rights if passed. Basic freedoms are at risk, including speech, assembly, association, and right to dissent.
On October 16, a Haaretz editorial addressed one measure affecting press freedom headlined, "Free press in Israel is in danger," saying:
Knesset extremists want to silence it "through the threat of libel suits that would jeopardize the economic foundations of the media outlets."
Last week, Knesset Law and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu party) approved MK Yariv Levin's (Likud) bill for first reading. It calls for more punitive libel compensation from 50,000 to NIS 300,000 (Israeli new shekel) with no need to prove damages.
Moreover, the penalty could rise to NIS 1.5 million if the complainant's response isn't published in full.
Levin claimed "freedom of expression is not freedom of transgression." MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) wants Israelis protected from "the great power of the media."
Neither addressed core democratic principles. Free expression is fundamental. Feigning support for civil rights, both want press freedom silenced. At issue is preventing criticism of business, government, and other influential figures.