MK compares TV promo to Nazi propaganda
Knesset Education Committee holds stormy discussion on satire TV show promotion depicting nude actors. 'Just like Goebbels was accused of Nazi propaganda, badmouthing Jews who were later butchered, so should creators of show be put on trial for anti-Semitism,' says National Union leader Katz
The Knesset's Education Committee held a stormy deliberation Monday following a request made by Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) to Education Committee Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) to hold an urgent hearing about a TV promotion for satire show "Eretz Nehederet" (a wonderful country), in which the actors appear naked.
"Seeing such images of exposure and fondling is harmful to the public, especially during hours of the day when children are exposed to television," said MK Tirosh.
"Such displays," Tirosh added," make me think that some sort of censorship is needed in order to draw the red lines. Eretz Nehederet is a great show that does not require such a promo. We discussed many times the effects such images have on our youth and its behavior – and this is a violent display."
'Like Goebbels' propaganda'
"Just like (Nazi propaganda minister Joseph) Goebbels was accused of Nazi propaganda and badmouthing the Jews who were later butchered, so should the creators of the show be put on trial for anti-Semitism," said MK Yaakov Katz (National Union).
Katz added that "when it comes to the freedom of television and radio – the law is breached. I, as an Israeli soldier in the State of Israel, an officer in the Shaked platoon and a company commander that lost part of his leg during the war must say that I am ashamed of friends and the producers.
"I have no doubt that one day the State of Israel will be run by the proper legal elements and a proper government that will make retroactive decisions to try these people for anti-Semitism – just like people stood trial in Germany and Poland after the war; Just like Goebbels conducted Nazi propaganda and badmouthed Jews who were later butchered," he said.
'Eretz Nehederet' promo (Photo: Eldad Refaeli)
MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beitenu) rejected MK Katz' comments and said she sees the promo as a burst of creativity. "TV has far more violent and harsh images. We must examine the existing content and consider how we, as legislators, can influence these cases," she said.
In response, MK Tirosh slammed MK Michaeli, saying she is perplexed as to why Michaeli attended the meeting. MK Michaeli responded to MK Tirosh and said that "each person sees the promo in their own way." Shortly after, MK Michaeli got up and left the meeting hall.
MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) said that a censorship must be applied to television: "It is an ugly country that displays all the problems of the Israeli society. Eretz Nehederet has no heritage and no education or cultural messages.
Parody or negative messages? Scene out of Eretz Nehederet
"Maybe some Knesset members see some sort of cultural message in this show, but I do not see it. We must restrict images of half and full nudity. It is the duty of the education committee to do so," he said.
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said that in his opinion, any type of parody is unfit. "Satire offers nothing of value, nothing holy. When one crosses this limit, you never know how low one might reach."
Deputy Director General of the Second Authority for TV & Radio Ayelet Metzger responded to MK Ben Ari and said that "we have watched the promo and raised our eyebrow. We were not happy with it and even received many complaints about the implicit sexuality and nudity.
"We've made the consideration of defending the public interest as opposed to defending the freedom of speech," Metzger added.
Keshet media group representative at the hearing attorney Vered Ashkenazi said that Keshet was acting within the legal guidelines of the Second Authority for TV & Radio. "The promo does not violate any guidelines, and therefore we did not get involved. If the issue was to reach the Higher Court, it would have not withstood it's regulation, and the claim would have been rejected due to freedom of expression."
'Regulation is not censorship'
Attorney Ashkenazi added that "the promo was within the guidelines of the freedom of speech and artistic expression, and therefore is protected by law. This creativity is also depicted in the review published on Ynet. Freedom of expression is one of the key elements in a democratic regime and must not be interfered."
MK Tirosh concluded the meeting and said that "the ball is in the hands of the Knesset members, due to the idleness of the Second Authority for TV & Radio. More meeting will be held on the subject, and if there is no independent conclusion made, we will have to resort to legislation. The repeated failures to address these issues belong to the Second Authority."
The Second Authority said in response: "Regulation is not censorship according to the law, or according to the values of democracy. Limiting the freedom of expression requires great caution, and should only be applied when there is a clear impact of the public. The Second Authority deems that it applied careful consideration based on these principles in the case of the promo for Eretz Nehederet.
"We thought the promo is inappropriate and even notified the concessionary about the public complaints; we did not see fit to directly intervene. Even so, we believe there is place for public criticism and discussion as well as responsible action on behalf of the concessionary and the broadcasting body."