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June 15, 2018

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 15, 2018 Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, celebrates in his Colorado store after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 in his favor in a dispute with a gay couple, June 4, 2018. By Ben Sales (JTA)--Seven Supreme Court justices sided with a Colorado baker in his legal fight with a gay couple. And seven major Jewish groups weighed in on the decision. Six of the Jewish groups dis- agreed with the decision. But one Jewish organization, the Orthodox Union, dissented from the rest, calling the ruling a victory for religious freedom. "Too many pundits and politicians have lately engaged in rhetoric that seeks to paint religious liberty in a negative light, especially as they seek to advance policies to which some have sincere dissent," Nathan Diament, the O.U.'s executive director for public policy, said in a statement. "Today, the United States Su- preme Court sent a clear mes- sage: that the demonization of religious beliefs--especially in policymaking--is consti- tutionally unacceptable." The O.U. stance is signifi- cant because Jewish groups across the spectrum have long based their policy positions on a robust defense of reli- gious freedom. For decades, that meant keeping religion out of the public square and promoting so-called "public accommodation" laws that require places open to the public to grant customers full and equal treatment. This was partly due to a fear that allowing religious exemp- tions would amount to a tacit government endorsement of Christianity. But in recent years the O.U. has supported a number of ef- forts to allow more public reli- gious expression, contending that expanding those rights would benefit religious Jews. In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Com- mission, the court ruled that a Colorado bakerwas allowed to refuse to bake a cake celebrat- ing a same-sex marriage. The decision, published Monday, was relatively narrow: The baker was within his rights, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, be- cause a member of the Colo- rado Civil Rights Commission had made comments hostile to his faith while initially ruling on the incident. "[T]hese disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay per- sons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market," Kennedywrote. Conservative groups had hoped the ruling would be broader, allowing private businesses to refuse service to LGBT couples based on their religious beliefs. Liberal groups, likewise, hoped the court would ban such actions as illegal discrimination. Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, who are Jewish, sided with the majority. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, with Ginsberg saying that the majority opinion did not take fully into account the baker's unwillingness to serve customers because of who they are. The six Jewish groups op- posing the decision, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement, were largely liberal. Their ar- guments all said the decision either effectively endorsed anti-LGBT discrimination or missed an opportunity to prohibit it. "As Americans and as Jews, we affirm that discrimination is not 'religious freedom,' and pretending otherwise is an in- sult to those who have suffered religious persecution," read a statement by Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc, a liberal Jewish activist group. "We are relieved this decision was not the sweeping negative ruling it could have been." But the O.U employing similar ideas, reached the opposite conclusion: That the ruling strikes a blow against discrimination. Codifying the notion that the government cannot disparage religious groups, Diament told JTA, will be helpful to Jewish groups in the future. "It's crucial for Jews and for other minority communities that religious freedoms be given the strongest and widest scope," he said in an interview Tuesday. "The intent of the policymakers is going to be taken into considerationwhen they're evaluating a policy." Diament said the ruling could aid Jewish groups, for example, ifa government body tries to pass a bill outlawing Jewish practices like circum- cision or ritual slaughter. In a case like that, the bill could be unconstitutional if its sponsors make comments disparaging Judaism or Islam. "Those are things that are based in religion that some people view as politically incorrect and want to have restricted," Diamentsaid."Re- ligious liberty jurisprudence is what's going to be essential to preserving those practices for the Jewish community in the United States." Diament also appreciated a passage in Kennedy's opin- ion stating that "a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion." He said that sentence will protect Orthodox synagogues that decline to celebrate Jewish same-sex marriages. Orthodoxy is the only major Jewish denomination that opposes same-sex marriage. The O.U. was one of the few Jewish groups that criticized the 2015 Supreme Court deci- sion legalizing such unions. The OU generally favors public policies that allow for broader practice of religion. It supports government aid to private religious schools, as well as federal vouchers for private education. It likewise supported a bill this year pro- viding federal security grants to religious nonprofits. By Ben Sales (JTA)--Israelis want noth- ing more than for their coun- try to be considered normal. That may have to wait. A much-anticipated soccer game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams was cancelled Wednesday because, Israeli and Argentine officials say, of physical threats made to the Argentine players-- including megastar forward Lionel Messi. The exhibition game was set for Saturday night in Jerusalem, less than a week before the beginning of the World Cup. Beyond the disappointment of tens of thousands of Israeli soccer fans, the cancellation shows Israelis once again that even seemingly innocuous cultural events, like a soccer match, aren't immune from the festering Israeli-Pales- tinian conflict. Israelis want to portray their country as a thriving democracy like any other--violence on the border and the occupation notwith- standing-and a full member of the family of nations. And they appreciate when other countries treat them that way. Thousands of Is- raelis lined the streets for the Giro d'Italia cycling race last month, even though it's not a popular sport in Israel. Celebrating that international sporting event, perhaps the largest to be held in Israel, one of Israel's leading news- papers ran a full front-page photo with the headline "We're on the map." Last month an Israeli, Netta Barzilai, won the Eurovision song contest, a 43-country competition that this year drew some 186 millionviewers. Such signs of normaliza- tion are manna for Israelis, and a setback for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to iso- late Israel internationally. So the BDS community seemed ecstatic to claim the Argen- tines' decision as a result of their political pressure. The truth seems murkier. The president of the Argentine Football Association, Claudio Tapia, apologized to Israel and said players had received threats. Protesters outside the team's practice facility in Barcelona also waved Argen- tine soccer jerseys covered in fake blood--leaving it up to observers to decide whether the blood was meant to sym- bolize Palestinians who died or soccer players who might. This cancellation, never- theless, cuts especially deep. Israelis feel stung when foreigners cancel appear- Seeking Jewish Gestational Carrier MUST be able to provide proof of religion. If GC is married, must be married to non-Jewish spouse. Single, divorced or widowed is fine. Minimum of I prior full-term pregnancy. You should be 21-40 yrs old, & have a strong support system. Healthy, kind, communicative & understanding. Reproductive Possibilities is an agency that has helped to create families for over 2 decades, contact us to find out more & join us in a wonderful journey. You can call 1-888-363-9457 or email lisa@ ances because of the conflict. Earlier this year, the singer Lorde cancelled a Tel Aviv concert after pressure from pro-Palestinian activists. And Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli, refused to show for a prestigious prize ceremony because of her opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Soccer is Israel's most popular sport, and Messi's professional squad, FC Bar- celona, is the most popular international team in Israel, according to a recent survey. So watching him face off against Israel's team on its home turf would have been an especially big deal. Israelis are outraged--and split on who is to blame. Even if the ultimate decision was not a direct response to BDS pressure, many accuse Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev of inflaming the opposition by politicizing the game. Regev told Israel's Army Ra- dio that she moved the game from the northern city of Haifa to Jerusalem, specifi- cally to exhibit Israel's claim to the city. She also linked the game to "our fight over the [United States] embassy moving to Jerusalem," which happened last month amid objections from Palestinians, the European Union and the United Nations. "From my perspective, the important thing is that Argentina's national team and Messi are coming to Israel and playing in Jerusalem ahead of the World Cup," Regev told Army Radio on Monday, two days before the cancellation "Jerusalem is on the map. In this era which includes BDS--in this era nothing is more important." A Palestinian official also name-checked Regev, and the Jerusalem move, in a letter requesting that the game be cancelled. "After political pressure took place from the Israeli government, as it was openly said by Israel's Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, the match was moved to Jerusalem," Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, wrote in a letter to Tapia obtained by Haaretz. "The Israeli gov- ernment has turned a regular sports match into a political tool." Rajoub also called on Pal- estinians to burn their Messi jerseys in protest of the game. And this isn't his first foray against Israeli soccer. In 2015, he unsuccessfully tried to get Israel kicked out of FIFA, the international soccer organi- zation. In an informal online poll conducted by Ynet, a news website that tends to oppose Netanyahu, al- most 60 percent of respon- dents blamed Regev for the match's cancellation. Ben Caspit, a journalist for the Israeli daily Maariv, tweet- ed that Messi visited Jerusa- lem in 2013 without incident "because no one turned the event into a political campaign." The Jerusalem decision, he wrote, "woke the Palestinians up and awakened the mob." But Regev is known for being bombastic, and she isn't backing down. In a fiery statement Wednesday night, she blamed Palestinian ter- rorism for the cancellation, and compared the threats against Messi to the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian Black September terror group. "We're talking about an old-new terror that scares, deters and frightens players, the same terror that led to the murder of the 11 Munich victims in the 1972 Olympics," she said. "The true story here is not Haifa and not Jerusa- lem. The true story here is the threats on Messi's life." Regev also accused Ra- joub of inciting terror and accused opposition Israeli Knesset members for "back- ing up terror" because they wrote tweets criticizing her conduct. Regarding the idea that the move to Jerusalem directly caused the cancel- lation, she said "there is no bigger lie." "How much stupidity can you talk all the time? How much nonsense can you say?" she said. "How nasty and mean can people be? Don't people have national pride?" Regev pledged that"we will continue to host international events." She noted Israel is set to host the Eurovision contest, according to its annual tradi- tion, next year. Butwill Eurovision actually end up coming to Jerusalem? According to Yossi Sharabi, director-general of Regev's Culture Ministry, maybe not. In the wake of the soccer can- cellation, he acknowledged that in Israel, planning these events is never simple. "Eurovision in Jerusalem? It isn't at all a given," Sharabi told the Sports 5 TV channel. "It's too early to talk about this. Everybody wants it to be in Jerusalem. But there could well be other considerations." JTA briefs editor Marcy Os- ter contributed to this report.