Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

"Dignitizing" Free Speech in Israel: The Impact of the Constitutional Revolution on Free Speech Protection

Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

"Dignitizing" Free Speech in Israel: The Impact of the Constitutional Revolution on Free Speech Protection

Article excerpt

This article examines the changes in the approach to the analysis of free speech rights in Israel. It demonstrates the growing shift from the American liberty-based influence in the 1980s to a more dignity-based, and principally Canadian- and German-inspired, model following the adoption of the partial bill of rights in the 1990s. This is demonstrated both by a statistical analysis of the Israeli Supreme Court free speech rulings in the past thirty years and by a substantive analysis of recent rulings in the areas of prior restraint, pornography, and libel.

The statistical findings demonstrate that while human dignity rarely played a role in free speech rulings in the past, it plays a significant role today. Another indication of the "dignitization process" lies in the reference to foreign rulings. Moreover, a substantive examination of the Israeli Supreme Court's free speech rulings from the last decade reveals the dignitization process both in rhetoric and outcomes.

This article offers a means of strengthening the protection that free speech receives in Israel by divorcing the constitutional protection of free speech from the concept of human dignity, and by focusing on the value of liberty. This can be achieved by the incorporation of the unenumerated right to free speech via the liberty clause within Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

Cet article examine les changements dans l'analyse du droit a la liberte d'expression en Israel. Il demontre qu'un changement d'influence est en train de s'operer, en passant d'une approche americaine basee sur la liberte vers une approche canadienne et allemande basee sur la dignite, suite a l'adoption partielle de la declaration des droits dans les annees 1990. Ceci est demontre par une analyse statistique des decisions des trente dernieres annees de la Cour supreme d'Israel, ainsi que par une analyse substantive des decisions recentes dans les domaines de la restriction prealable, de la pornographie et de la diffamation.

Les resultats statistiques demontrent que si la dignite ne jouait auparavant qu'un role tres limite dans les decisions, le concept joue un role important aujourd'hui. Le fait de referer a des decisions etrangeres est egalement un indice de ce << processus de dignification >>. De plus, une analyse substantive des decisions de la Cour supreme d'Israel de la derniere decennie en matiere de liberte d'expression permet d'illustrer ce processus de dignification, tant dans la rhetorique que dans les resultats.

Cet article offre un moyen de renforcer la protection de la liberte d'expression en Israel, en separant la protection constitutionnelle de la liberte d'expression de celle de la dignite humaine, et en se concentrant sur la valeur de la liberte. Ceci peut etre realise en incorporant le droit non-ecrit a la liberte d'expression par le biais de la disposition sur la liberte de la Loi fondamentale : Dignite et liberte humaines.

  I. Past--Background: Israeli Constitutional Law and
     Free Speech Protection
     A. The Lack of a Formal Constitution
     B. The "Constitutional Revolution"
     C. The Current Constitutional Deadlock--A Transitional
 II. Present--The Israeli Shift to Dignity-Based Free
     Speech Doctrine
     A. The Development of Constitutional Protection of Free
        Speech in the Constitutional Revolution Era
        1. Three Approaches to file Incorporation of Unenumerated
        2. Partial Incorporation and Its Limits
     B. The Dignitization of Free Speech--An Overview
        1. The Proliferation of Human Dignity in Numbers
        2. The Use of Comparative Law in Free Speech Cases
     C. The Dignitization of Free Speech--Substantive Analysis
        1. Prior Restraint
        2. Pornography
        3. Defamation raid Libel
III. Future--A Possible Solution? Divorcing Free Speech
     and Human Dignity
     A. Some Perspective on the Evolution of Constitutional
     B. … 
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