MK Ibrahim Sarsur, head of the Ra'am Ta'al Arab party, warned Israeli shops against selling copies of the French Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
“There are red lines that cannot be crossed,” said Sarsur, who stated in an interview on Channel Ten that while he was all for freedom of speech, there was some speech that could not be tolerated.
“History shows that freedom of speech does not allow freedom to injure the sensibilities of others,” Sarsur said. “This applies to all people, regardless of religion, background, or culture. We have no problem selling any magazines here, not even that particular one – but when it contains caricatures that brutally attack the feelings of Muslims, this is a disgusting act that cannot be allowed to continue.”
Israeli book chain Steimatzky dropped plans for an in-store promotion of the now-infamous Charlie Hebdo edition depicting the Mohammed in what Muslims consider an offensive manner.
Israel Radio said over the weekend that the chain had intended to hold a promotional event in a branch in the Tel Aviv area but later decided that orders for the issue – which has sparked sometimes deadly protests across the Muslim world – would now be taken only through its website.
The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said the issue would go on sale on Monday and continue for as long as stocks last. According to Israel Radio, purchases would be limited to two per customer due to limited supplies.
The magazine, of course, was the target of Islamic terrorists who shot up its offices earlier this month, claiming that the “insult” to Islam justified the attack. Sarsur said that Israelis should not take his advice as a threat that similar incidents could occur in Israel, and that he and other Arab MKs condemned any attacks on innocent people, and all terror in general.
“But between those stances and the possibility that a respectable bookstore would sell these magazines there is a wide chasm,” added Sarsour. “Such things are not acceptable. It's time we thought about how these things affect others, and hesitate a thousand times before taking actions that will raise tensions. Why add oil to the fire already burning in Israel and in the region?”