Re: OT: Nuremberg Laws in AZ
posted at 2/24/2014 6:20 PM EST
Jewish groups urge Gov. Brewer to veto SB1062
SALVATORE CAPUTO | Assistant Managing Editor | Updated 8 hours ago
Senate Bill 1062, passed Thursday, Feb. 20, has drawn criticism from a number of Jewish groups in the Valley who are urging Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the measure when it comes to her desk. The bill could be transmitted to her as early as today (Feb. 24) and from the time she receives it, she will have five days to act.
Typical of the Jewish groups' responses was an email sent by the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix and signed by Joel Kramer, the board chair, and Stuart Wachs, president and CEO: "While the Association does not take political positions, we feel we need to speak out in opposition of the Arizona Legislature's self-described 'Free Exercise of Religion' (House Bill 2154 & Senate Bill 1062) bill which was passed last week.
"We strongly support freedom of religion but this Bill will do much more to support bigotry, including anti-Semitism, than to protect freedom of religion. This legislature allows businesses to deny service to anyone or any group that they feel is offensive or not supportive of their very loosely defined religious beliefs. This rings very similar to language that has been used to support anti-Semitism and other forms of serious discrimination.
"We voice our strong opposition to these Bills and encourage you to have your voices and the voice of the Jewish community heard. We urge you to join the Association, the many local rabbis, the Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in encouraging a veto of these Bills."
HB 2154 was the House version of the bill, for which SB 1062 is the final passed version, with approval of both the House and Senate.
The Arizona regional office of the Anti-Defamation League has opposed the bill for some time stating, "Based on SB 1062 a CEO’s religious belief in paying men more than woman could be the basis of a for-profit corporation denying equal pay to women, or an individual could refuse to pay legally required interest on a lien, fine or loan based on a religious belief."
Temple Chai, Temple Kol Ami and Temple Solel included Jewish News in email blasts that opposed the bill as well.
- The letter from Temple Chai, signed by Rabbis Mari Chernow, Bonnie Koppell and Jake Singer-Beilin, Cantor Sharona Feller and Chai President Debbie Blyn, says, "We are writing to add our voices to those of the many Jewish leaders who have called on Governor Brewer to veto SB 1062/HB 2153. This problematic bill stands in conflict with the one of the most fundamental teachings of the Torah, that every human being is made b'tzelem Elohim (in the image of God). We have inherited a rich tradition of advocacy for civil rights from the rabbis of the Talmud and, more recently, Jewish civil rights leaders of the 1960s." In addition,Temple Chai is coordinating carpools to an anti-SB 1062 demonstration scheduled for 5 p.m. today. For details, visit herophoenix.org.
- The letter from Temple Kol Ami, signed by Rabbi Jeremy Schneider, says, "This bill not only threatens us as Jews, but all minorities and peoples of faith. Ironically, this piece of legislation is being heralded as the 'free exercise of religion.' "
- The letter from Temple Solel, signed by Rabbi John Linder and Rabbi Ilana Mills, says, "We feel it is our obligation to give you the opportunity to speak out against two bills going through the Arizona Legislature that not only threaten us as Jews, but all minorities and peoples of faith. ... Of course, your rabbis are ardent supporters of religious freedom for all Americans. The reality is that Arizona already provides greater religious freedom protection for its citizens and religious institutions than the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
(Congregants of other synagogues, including Congregation Beth Israel, have made Jewish News aware of comments and letters sent out to their communities. This article will be updated with further comments as Jewish News can contact those congregations and confirm the content of the statements.)
These Jewish responses come amid a flood of calls for Brewer to veto the bill from other officials and groups, ranging from U.S. Sen. John McCain to three Arizona senators who voted for the bill's passage, to business leaders including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.