The Show Must Go On
The Haifa District Court received an urgent petition this morning (8.22.2019) on behalf of residents of Umm al-Fahm, regarding the mayor of Umm al-Fahm's decision to cancel a show scheduled to take place in the city tonight by the rapper, Tamer Nafar.
Judge Bettina Tauber ruled that the mayor has no authority to intervene in the artistic content of the cultural activities conducted by the municipality, and that a cultural institution operating within the municipality enjoys independent discretion regarding the artistic content presented therein. In addition, the judge ruled that the considerations underlying the decision to cancel the show, relating to religious, social, cultural and moral values, were unfounded, and that in any case, the expressions were not unusually exceptional so as to justify limiting freedom of expression or hurting feelings.
The ruling further reads: "I will add that this is not an event that will take place on city streets wherein bystanders may be exposed to a show or messaging against their will. This is a show that will be held in a closed venue, where anyone interested in watching it had to purchase an entrance ticket. A public that comes on its own initiative to watch a show, whether a majority or a minority among a civilized society, is entitled to have its rights upheld, including its right to choose the content to which it seeks to be exposed."
The petition was filed yesterday after the mayor’s decision to cancel Nafar's show, following consultation with city council members. The reason for the cancellation was that his songs include content that "does not align with religious, moral, educational, and cultural standards in Umm al-Fahm."
Attorney Dan Yakir, ACRI's legal advisor who filed the petition: "The court was compelled to reiterate fundamental principles regarding the protection of basic human rights, which were established decades ago. It defended the freedom of expression of Umm al-Fahm residents interested in enjoying the rapper Tamer Nafar's show. The importance of the ruling is that it emphasized that the mayor or other elected officials should not interfere in artistic content, even with regard to cultural events held by the municipality itself. We hope that, following the verdict, the show will take place as planned, and that everyone who has purchased tickets will be able to enjoy it. Anyone who is not interested, of course, does not have to come to the show."
Petition no. 47393-08-19
Attorney: Dan Yakir
For further information (Hebrew)