Israeli AG: Broadcasting Netanyahu’s speech to Congress not election propaganda


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress can be broadcast in Israel without violating election propaganda laws, the country’s attorney general said.

Yehuda Weinstein made the ruling on Wednesday when he rejected a petition filed by the left-wing Meretz party asking the Central Election Committee to prevent media outlets from broadcasting the speech, saying it was illegal campaigning.

Weinstein called the speech a newsworthy and current event that is directly related to Netanyahu’s work as prime minister. He pointed out that Netanyahu has spoken more than once to the U.S. Congress. The attorney general also said that the prime minister’s legal office would provide guidance to ensure that the speech does not include election propaganda.

His response was directed to the Supreme Court, which would hear further challenges to the national broadcast of the March 3 speech before a joint session of Congress.

Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran serves as Central Election Committee chairman.

Meretz head Zahava Gal-On said that a news report is enough to cover the speech’s newsworthy elements and that the whole speech does not need to be broadcast.

The speech has caused controversy both in the United States and at home for Netanyahu. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have said they will not meet with Netanyahu, citing the Israeli elections two weeks later as making such a meeting inappropriate.


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