Israel's election commission ruled that anti-gay political campaign ads are legal after a far-right party filed a petition when two companies refused to publish their ads.
Israeli companies cannot deny anti-gay campaign ads of the ultra-Orthodox Zionist Noam party according to a new ruling by the acting chairman of the Central Elections Committee Neal Hendel.
The decision came Tuesday after a petition was filed by the Noam party when two companies refused to sell ad space for the far-right party which linked the gay community to child trafficking.
“An advertising marketer may not refuse to publish political advertisements based on their content,” ruled Hendel.
The companies were arguing against the ads as they were “offensive to and scornful of certain communities.”
"A duty of equality (includes) the commitment to publish election propaganda of all parties and lists, including those whose values are different... from those of the advertising agency," Hendel said.
Noam asked for billboards in Jerusalem for ads with slogans like “Pride and buying children, or my son marrying a woman,” and “Pride and buying children, or my grandson remaining Jewish – Israel chooses to be normal.”
The party called the ruling a great victory. Gay rights advocates condemned the ruling.
"When children like our children, 5, 6, 8-year-old children, see this kind of hate advertising they ask us, 'Dad, do you think that I am normal?'" said a spokesman for the Association of Gay Israeli Fathers, Julien Bahoul.
Such advertising has “nothing to do with freedom of speech,” said Or Keshet, who lobbies Israeli politicians on behalf of a coalition of 14 Israeli LGBT+ groups.
"They hate and they mock and they insult anyone who is different than them," he said.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Israel, although weddings performed abroad are recognized.