Ultra-Orthodox Members of Knesset introduced a bill to give rabbis immunity from prosecution for foul language on groups of people. They should be so fortunate to see their proposal backfire. It should lead to a new bill clarifying that (not just Islamic) religious and political leaders, including Members of Knesset, should be held accountable for incitement, degradation, insulting, and scaring groups of people and individuals.
Israeli law on sexual harassment is the best in the world. Even if someone merely feels unpleasant from the words or behavior of someone, s/he can go to the police. You don’t need to touch inappropriately to get indicted.
This is needed on slander too. And on voicing opinions that degrade and threaten whole groups of the public. No tolerance for the intolerant!
The mantra that this is undemocratic, not to let anyone say whatever they want, is faulty. It is rather undemocratic to give the microphone to people who endanger democracy. Democracy is that we’re all equal for the law. That no person should be treated less (or better) just because of where they come from, who they are, and what they think.
On the other hand, there should be wide tolerance for the intolerant of the intolerant, the free press. Without their reporting, community leaders can incite within their community freely against ‘others.’ One of our leading rabbinic decisors has just explained the value of such a free press.
Yes, that would change the political climate. Yes, the privileged will feel restricted. For not being ‘free’ anymore to say with impunity that women are stupid, Arabs are evil, Blacks are lazy, children must obey, GLBTQIAs are immoral, the handicapped and elderly are worthless, etc.
Better than the oppressors feel restricted than the oppressed.
If it was ever good (and it wasn’t) that women, Arabs, Blacks, children, GLBTQIAs, the handicapped, elderly, etc. are intimidated, that has been done plenty. It’s high time that people enjoying male, White, grownup, Straight, able-bodied, young privilege feel some of the oppression that has been perpetrated on the oppressed through no fault of their own.
You hate them? You can’t feel empathy for them? Why should vulnerable people carry the burden of your lack of humanity? Don’t expect a democratic Jewish State to support airing and spreading your bigotry.
We need the opposite of this bill. Instead of protection for bigots, we need more protection or the vulnerable. This is exactly what a democratic and a Jewish State should be about. Fire and prosecute the bigots.
How sad that some Jewish leaders fight Modernity instead of competing with it to show that Judaism is at least as gigantic and beautiful.
How disturbing that on the saddest day of the year, that calls upon us to love more, I must say that rabbis shouldn’t have a right to spread hatred.
Mazal tov, Jonathan Pollard with your birthday. I regret our continued failure to bring you and your wife–may she have a complete recovery amidst all the sick the Jewish People cares about–home to Israel.