The Mossawa Center views with deep concern the recent passage of the Counterterrorism Law (Amendment No. 9 and Temporary Order) (Consumption of Terror Publications) 2023. This amendment, in its current form, introduces a dangerous paradigm whereby mere consumption of information—specifically terrorist publications—could lead to a year of imprisonment.
The amendment introduces the concept of criminalizing the consumption of material as potentially leading to 'self brainwashing,' a term that is not only nebulous but also introduces considerable complexity into legal interpretations. This complexity could unduly threaten the right to access information without concrete evidence of a crime or intent to commit one.
We highlight that the intensive viewing of publications, especially those linked to organizations such as Hamas, does not constitute an endorsement or an intention to commit violent acts. For many, particularly within the Palestinian Arab Community in Israel, the viewing of such content is a means to remain informed and should not be conflated with active participation or support.
We are alarmed by the implications of this amendment for freedom of expression. In an era where digital content is ubiquitous, it is practically impossible to control the viewing of specific material, making the enforcement of such a law both unfeasible and prone to selective interpretation. This could unjustly target Palestinian Arab citizens, further marginalizing and silencing our community.
We urge the Israeli legislature to reconsider the broad and punitive scope of this amendment. We call for a balanced approach that safeguards security while upholding the democratic values of freedom of speech and thought. The Mossawa Center will continue to monitor the development of this amendment and advocate for the protection of the civil liberties of all citizens.