Before B’Tselem’s petition could be heard by the High Court of Justice (HCJ) and to counter discrimination arguments, the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) pulled two patently political ads that support the Gaza offensive
The petition against the IBA’s decision not to play a radio spot giving names of children killed in Gaza was filed by attorneys Hagai Kalai and Gilad Barnea on behalf of B’Tselem. It was heard yesterday, (Thursday, 31 July 2014) by Justices Elyakim Runbenstein, Neal Hendel and Uri Shoham.
Before the hearing was held this morning, the IBA announced it would stop playing two ads, one by the so-called National Resilience Headquarters which calls for the current military operation to continue until “victory”, and the other by the ultra-orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement youth, calling on men to don phylacteries for “the success of the operation”. During the hearing, an IBA representative claimed that approval of the ads had been an “error”. B’Tselem argued that in fact the two other ads expressed a clear political position about a controversial issue and had been approved for broadcast against IBA’s regulations, whereas B’Tselem’s spot was strictly factual, in keeping with regulations.
The State requested an extension, stating that the Attorney General had not had enough time to formulate a position on the matter. The justices instructed the State to submit its position by Monday, 4 August 2014. The IBA and B’Tselem were given two days to respond to this position before the Court delivers its ruling.
The radio spot: