AG Orders Netanyahu to Remove Government-produced 'Propaganda' Video From Facebook

In response to a High Court petition, Mendelblit stated a video of the prime minister giving a speech to Israeli commando soldiers 'emphasizes his personal role'

File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Avichai Mendelblit during a cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, November 16, 2014.
Gali Tibbon/AP

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has instructed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's staff to remove a government-produced video from social media, dubbing it "propaganda."

The video, produced by the Government Press Office and posted on Netanyahu's official Facebook page last month, shows him giving a speech to Israeli commando soldiers in a manner that "emphasizes the prime minister's personal role," according to Mendelblit.

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In response to a petition to the High Court of Justice filed by attorney Shachar Ben Meir, the attorney general instructed that state employees not be involved in editing videos that "include a dominant propaganda aspect."

According to the state's response, the production of propaganda videos isn't forbidden, as is their publication on private or official social media accounts, as long as the videos aren't produced by state employees.

The response to the High Court also stated that Netanyahu's Likud party must pay for Government Press Office material it wishes to use. Citing a propaganda law, it adds: "Funds or material or intangible assets of an audited (government) body must not be used in relation to election propaganda."

In the video, Netanyahu tells a group of soldiers that "the greatest answer to anti-Semitism is the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces." As footage of Israeli special forces in training is shown, Netanyahu's speech continues: "Once … we could be slaughtered. Today we have the power to respond."