by Jonathan Rosenblum
The Free Market Place of Ideas Under Siege
The contempt of Israel's elites for the free market place of
ideas is an old story with ever new wrinkles. The latest
wrinkle is the revelation of an entire department in the
State Prosecutor's office devoted to harassing right-wing
extremists via an unending stream of suits for incitement
and related "crimes." These prosecutions are clearly not
designed to win -- Kach activists Noam Federman and Itamar
Ben-Gvir have been acquitted 49 times between them, with
only one conviction resulting in a minimal jail sentence.
Rather the goal is to bankrupt the defendants through never-
ending legal actions. Thus after the trial court judge
denied the prosecution's request that defendants be remanded
to custody for three days in a recent proceeding, and the
district court upheld that denial, prosecutors sought an
even longer remand to the beginning of the trial and again
appealed the denial of their motion.
In recent years, the self-styled avatars of civil liberties
in Israel, Meretz-leaders Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid,
have called for the closure of a religious newspaper after a
columnist labelled Chief Justice Aharon Barak a "judicial
dictator," demanded the prosecution of another religious
writer for protesting "Nazi-like" stereotypes of religious
Jews, and fought tooth and nail to close the right-wing
radio station Arutz-7, which provides the only nation-wide
alternative to the news on Israel radio.
The contempt of Israel's Left for other's free speech might
be viewed as a carryover from the State's founders who were
steeped in Russian revolutionary movements. That
explanation, however, may be too simplistic. For the free
marketplace of ideas is no less under siege in America, a
country which has always been remarkably immune to Marxist
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