Fighting Antisemitism by Protecting Religious Liberty

Fighting Antisemitism by Protecting Religious Liberty
(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Protecting the free exercise of religion is a key aspect of fighting antisemitism. Regrettably, modern discourse often restricts the notion of antisemitism to those acts that deliberately target the Jewish people because they are Jewish, overlooking facially neutral policies that burden Jewish religious practices. This position parallels the United States Supreme Court's current approach to the Free Exercise Clause pursuant to Employment Division v. Smith. Strict adherence to the Smith rule creates blinders to the full spectrum of potentially antisemitic conduct. As Justice Alito contemplated in his opinion in the recent Fulton case, Smith might countenance prospective policies that would seriously undermine Jewish practices. Those who fight antisemitism should decry the Smith rule, advancing instead a robust understanding of religious freedom.

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