The High Court Wednesday overturned the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s ban on the word “expulsion” in publicity for the Gush Katif Museum.
In a parallel with poet Gertrude Stein's declaration that “a rose is a rose is a rose,” a three-justice panel used the acclaimed Even Shushan Hebrew dictionary to prove that “expulsion” accurately describes the forced uprooting of approximately 9,000 Jews from Gush Katif four years ago.
The IBA had banned the museum, located in the center of Jerusalem, from using the word “expulsion” in its commercials, charging the word is political. Instead, it insisted on the terms “disengagement” or “evacuation.” The court agreed with the Committee for Saving the Land of Israel (SOS), which appealed the government authority’s decision.
The museum depicts life in the Jewish communities before the government destroyed them and expelled the residents, and it also documented the expulsion itself, including the destruction of homes and the removal of holy Torah scrolls.
At a previous hearing several weeks ago, the court suggested a compromise term of “forced evacuation,” a phrase that SOS rejected.
Aviad Visuli, attorney for the petitioners, told the judges that “forced evacuation" does not convey the suffering of the approximately 9,000 Jewish residents, including the elderly and little children, whose possessions were taken away and whose homes were destroyed. Many of them remain even today without permanent housing and employment.
“We cannot agree to the laundering of words in order to justify the horrible expulsion,” the lawyer told the court. He charged that the broadcasting authorities have political motives in trying to “to impose on us the use of leftist words.
Visuli argued that the government used political terms in commercial advertising following the expulsion, with commercials stating that the government has “a solution for every resident” that amounted to “throwing sand in the eyes of the public.”
The Israel Broadcasting Authority claimed support for its position by relying on speeches by then-Meretz Knesset Members Avshalom Vilan and Ran Cohen, who objected to the term “expulsion.”
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