Flags at Jerusalem Pride in 2008 via Flickr

An Israeli judge has ruled that advertisers cannot ban anti-gay adverts from being shown.

The decision was made after two advertising companies, Knaan Media in Motion Ltd. and Y Mor Advertising Ltd., refused to allow the far-right religious party Noam to run an anti-gay advert.

One of Noam’s main goals in politics is stop the advancement of LGBTQ rights. A previous ad campaign by them was banned on YouTube for violating the platform’s terms and conditions.

The advert, which was to be displayed on a billboard and on the side of buses, said: “Pride and the buying of children, or having my son marry a woman – Israel chooses to be normal.”

The advertising agencies argued that the adverts were likely to offend and could cost them future business. However, Noam appealed their ruling, and Judge Neal Hendel ruled that the adverts were electoral-related and therefore could not be banned.

In his ruling, Judge Hendel said: “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.”

The judge also ordered the advertising agencies to pay the cost of Noam’s legal fees. Noam called the decision a “great victory” on Facebook.

Neil Ward via Flickr

Speaking to Reuters, LGBTQ groups were disappointed with the decision. Julien Bahoul, a spokesman for the Association of Gay Israeli Fathers told Reuters: “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?'”

And Or Keshet, a political lobbyist on LGBTQ issues said the adverts had “nothing to do with freedom of speech.” He added: “They [Noam] hate and they mock and they insult anyone who is different than them.”

Although Israel has a good track record with LGBTQ rights, the country’s Education Minister recently landed himself in controversy after he claimed that gay ‘conversion’ was possible.

On Channel 12 TV, Rafi Peretz said: “I think that it is possible to convert [someone’s sexual orientation]. I can tell you that I have deep familiarity on the issue of education, and I have also done this.”

He later backtracked from his comments, saying: “I never turned a cold shoulder or suggested conversion therapy, which I oppose utterly. I know conversion therapy is wrong and grave, that’s my unequivocal stance.

“I understand that this is an invasive treatment that is unsuitable for the human psyche, causes those treated more suffering than relief, and can even put peoples lives in peril and cause suicidal tendencies.

“I never thought, and certainly haven’t said, that this kind of therapy should be part of the educational system, and certainly have no intention of doing so.”