Switzerland rules on swastika ban — Analysis

Despite pressure from politicians and Jewish groups, Switzerland’s Federal Council refuses to ban Nazi symbols

A motion to prohibit the public display of Nazi symbols has been rejected by Switzerland’s Federal Council. They argued that “prevention is better suited than criminal repression”In reducing the spread extremism. Jewish activists called for the decision “incomprehensible.”

The seven-member board, which serves as Switzerland’s collective head of state, published its decision last week. According to the council, “shocking”And “very distressing,”It is illegal to display hate symbols in public. “only indirectly affect human dignity and public peace,” Tagblatt reported.

According to the council, such images can be considered illegal if they are displayed. “propaganda purposes,”This is a term that authorities can decide on case by case basis but maintain that prevention is the best approach to dealing with most incidents.

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She also pointed out Federal Supreme Court caselaw, which she finds acceptable “That any objectionable viewpoints are represented is acceptable, even though it may be unpalatable for the majority.

The ruling angered the Swiss Federation of Israelite Communities (SIG), which represents Switzerland’s 20,000 or so Jews. “This attitude of the Federal Council is incomprehensible,”SIG released a statement on Monday arguing that “People who give the Hitler salute in public or use a swastika already represent a well-established anti-Semitic ideology … To believe that they could be dissuaded by a prevention program is a massive misjudgment.”

The council’s decision came after it received three separate motions requesting criminal publishment for the display of “Nazi,” “racist,”And “extremist” symbols. The council’s final verdict was not the first of its kind, as it has shot down multiple motions to make the swastika illegal over the last decade. 

Switzerland’s neighbors maintain much tougher policies on Nazi symbols. Germany and Austria ban the display of these icons. Offenders can be punished with fines or imprisonment. France prohibits public display of Nazi flags or uniforms in France, as well as symbols belonging to other criminal organizations.

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