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The Supreme ruled that discrimination is protected speech. As the children of Holocaust survivors, we understand where this leads.

(JTA) — When the U.S. Supreme Court sided last month with a Colorado web designer who refuses to do work for same-sex couples because of her religious objection to same-sex marriage, it risked opening the floodgates to a host of discriminatory acts under the guise of First Amendment freedom of expression.

Most of us thought that we had made progress in eliminating government-sanctioned bigotry. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s 6-3 majority opinion in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, saying that her refusal to serve a same-sex couple is “protected speech,” reminds us, however, that discrimination endorsed by the high court remains a clear and present danger, first and foremost for the LGBTQIA+ community, but also for the rest of us.

As a daughter and son of Holocaust survivors, we tend to understand social and political events through the prism of the destruction of European Jewry. The Jews were deprived of their rights in Nazi Germany immediately after Hitler came to power in 1933. And we know that excluding Jews and others from commercial and civil life was one of the earliest stages before their eventual annihilation. 

The 303 Creative case forces us to contemplate the possibility that white supremacists, antisemites, Islamaphobes and other hate-filled individuals and groups will now be allowed to recast their bigotry in First Amendment or religious freedom terms. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, the decision “threatens to balkanize the market and to allow the exclusion of other groups from many services.”  

With this new ruling, what is to prevent a devout Christian who believes that Jews killed Jesus from selling wedding dresses only to brides who accept Jesus as their savior or from refusing to print bar mitzvah or Ramadan invitations? What about a white supremacist caterer who believes that interracial marriages violate his or her religious beliefs? Will his lawyer use this SCOTUS decision to construct a clever First Amendment or Free Exercise defense that allows him to get away with not serving such couples?

We are reminded of Gregory Peck who, masquerading as a Jew in the 1947 film “Gentleman’s Agreement,” is turned away from a “restricted” resort, as so many Jews were in real life. Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong and other African-Americans were denied entry into hotels, restaurants and other central institutions of American society until the civil rights revolution of the 1950s and 1960s put what we thought was an end to such nefarious practices. 

A previous generation of jurists also thought that legally sanctioned discrimination was accommodating sincere religious beliefs. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red,” wrote County Circuit Judge Leon M. Bazile of Caroline County, Virginia, in his now notorious Jan. 6, 1959, ruling sentencing Mildred Loving, a woman of African-American and Native-American descent, and Richard Loving, a white man, to one year in jail for violating Virginia’s miscegenation laws.

Judge Bazile continued by saying that God placed the races on separate continents. “And but for the interference with his arrangements there would be no cause for such [i.e., interracial] marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

It was not until June 12, 1967 — more than eight years later — that the Supreme Court overturned the Lovings’ criminal conviction and declared Virginia’s prohibition of interracial marriages to be unconstitutional.

Do we now have to worry that the Court in the future might validate some version of Judge Bazile’s bigotry under the guise of the First Amendment?

Americans are witnessing the legal legitimization of an “us vs. them” society. It comes at a point when the LGBTQ+ community was just beginning to gain legal ground. Now, the community is again legally seen by many as “the other.”

We don’t believe it is alarmist to say that such delegitimization may be the beginning of a process of dehumanization. History has taught us that when we no longer see others as equal to ourselves, we grant license to bigots to treat such individuals as less than human.  

Why are we compelled to speak out and feel strongly that all of us have an obligation to speak out? Because of the warning for the ages that German pastor Martin Niemoller taught us, a warning which we, present-day Americans, ignore at our peril:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

We are here to speak out for and stand with the LGBTQ+ community and for all who may eventually be adversely affected by this misguided ruling. For all we know, it could be us.


The post The Supreme ruled that discrimination is protected speech. As the children of Holocaust survivors, we understand where this leads. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Actress Shira Haas Wins Award for Role in Upcoming TV Series ‘Night Therapy’

Shira Haas on the set of “Night Therapy.” Photo: Nati Levi

Israeli actress Shira Haas was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Monte Carlo Television Festival on Tuesday night for her role in an upcoming Israeli television series titled “Night Therapy” that will premiere later this month.

Haas stars in the 10-part psychological drama alongside Yousef Sweid (“Munich Games,” “Game of Thrones”), as well as Lucy Ayoub, Yaakov Zada Daniel, and Firas Nassar, all of whom have starred in the popular Israeli series “Fauda.”

Haas, who accepted her award from the Monte Carlo Television Festival via video because she was in the United States filming, took to Instagram to thank the festival for her award.

“This is such a special project for me, a personal and genuinely (ongoing) healing one, and I can’t wait for you all to meet Yasmin very soon,” she wrote, referencing her character’s name in the show.

Written and created by Raanan Caspi, “Night Therapy” is about an Arab-Israeli psychologist named Louie (Sweid) who struggles to raise his two children after his Jewish-Israeli wife commits suicide. To be more present for his children during the day and to better balance his work and home life, Louie decides to shift his practice so he sees patients at night. Haas plays one of his patients — a computer genius named Yasmin who rarely leaves her home and prefers to spend her time in the virtual world instead of the real one.

“Through the gateway and magic of the late clinic hours, and flashback scenes where Louie acts as an unseen observer to their problems, the series depicts refreshing points of view on life, which often require unusual treatments,” according to a synopsis provided by Yes Studios, which is distributing the show. “Combining absorbing therapy sessions — written with the input of practicing psychologists — with storylines and characters from Louie’s personal life, ‘Night Therapy’ is a touching, emotional and sexy new drama series.”

The show premieres on Yes TV in Israel on June 30 and is being sold internationally by Yes Studios. The series is directed by Gabriel Bibliowicz and produced by Dafna Danenberg, Aviram Avraham, and Benny Menache at Eight Productions.

Haas previously had starring roles in the hit Israeli television series “Shtisel” as well as the film “Unorthodox,” for which she won an award. She also became the first Israeli television actress nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in “Unorthodox.” Haas Tribeca Film Festival for starring in “Asia,” in which she played a terminally ill character, and additionally won two best supporting actress awards at the Israeli Academy Awards. She is reportedly scheduled to appear in Marvel’s upcoming film “Captain America: Brave New World” as an Israeli superhero named Sabra.

The post Israeli Actress Shira Haas Wins Award for Role in Upcoming TV Series ‘Night Therapy’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Swiss Museum Sells Monet Painting in Settlement With Heirs of Former Jewish Owner Forced to Sell Artwork During WWII

A partial view of Monet’s “L’Homme à l’ombrelle.” Photo: Kunsthaus Zürich via Wikimedia Commons

The largest art museum in Switzerland announced on Wednesday that it is selling a painting by Claude Monet as part of an agreement with heirs of the artwork’s original Jewish owner, who was forced to sell it during World War II when he fled Nazi Germany.

The Kunsthaus Zürich said it reached a “fair and just solution” and “amicable settlement” with the heirs of Jewish entrepreneur Carl Sachs regarding the painting “L’Homme à l’ombrelle” (“Man with a Parasol”) from the late 19th century. Proceeds from the sale will be allocated between the museum and Sachs’ family.

Sachs and his wife fled Nazi persecution in Germany and moved to Switzerland in 1939. He was forced to sell “L’Homme à l’ombrelle,” and several other pieces from his art collection, to the Kunsthaus Zürich in order to make a living. “The sale of Monet’s ‘L’Homme à l’ombrelle’ to the Kunsthaus Zürich was the first work that Sachs had to sell due to the acute financial emergency just a few weeks after fleeing Nazi Germany to Switzerland,” the museum explained.

“A swift sale was needed to provide the couple with money to live on, and he was therefore acting under duress,” the Kunsthaus Zürich said. Sachs died shortly afterward in December 1943 and by that point he had sold 13 artworks from his collection.

Philipp Hildebrand, the chair of Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, said: “Of course we regret that this wonderful painting will leave the Kunsthaus. At the same time, this step underpins the seriousness of our provenance strategy and our fundamental attitude towards a transparent and solution-oriented approach to works in our collection in which there are substantiated references to Nazis [or] there is a situation of a persecution-related predicament.”

The post Swiss Museum Sells Monet Painting in Settlement With Heirs of Former Jewish Owner Forced to Sell Artwork During WWII first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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United Against Hate Canada is a new nonprofit founded by Marvin Rotrand, a former Montreal city councillor who once led B’nai Brith

Marvin Rotrand, a former Montreal city councillor and former leader of B’nai Brith Canada, announced the incorporation of a new nonprofit dedicated to combating hate earlier this week. At a press conference on June 19, Rotrand outlined the priorities of the newly formed United Against Hate Canada (UAHC) organization. A press release from the group […]

The post United Against Hate Canada is a new nonprofit founded by Marvin Rotrand, a former Montreal city councillor who once led B’nai Brith appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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