[Avodah] carrying an ID card on shabbat

Kenneth Miller kennethgmiller at juno.com
Sun Mar 17 05:51:30 PDT 2013

R"n Chana Luntz wrote:

> ... while individuals (including police officers) may well
> be motivated by anti-semitism, the overall law is not

R' Zev Sero responded:

> I don't see how that matters.  It's not the overall law
> that's the problem, it's the enforcement. If the enforcement
> (in your hypothetical) is targeted at us, then it's close to
> "she'as hashmad", and since we *can* fight it we should. And
> an individual who compromises his observance in order to
> comply with it harms that cause.

Basically, I think R' Zev's argument is sound, except for one very big practical problem: The she'as hashmad is coming from one or several police officers, and not from the overall law itself. Therefore, the fight and resistance needs to be against the enforcement, not against the legislators.

The intention of the legislators was non-discriminatory, and intended only for general security, not anti-Semitic purposes. Any attempt to paint the legislators as anti-Semitic will backfire badly, and we will be seen as unpatriotic crybabies who are trying to skirt the law for our own interests.

But if our reaction can be targeted specifically at the anti-Semitic police officers, that would be quite appropriate in my view. The difficulty, of course, would be proving that they were indeed targeting us in an anti-Semitic manner. I suppose a good place to look for more info on this would be the phrase "racial profiling".

Akiva Miller
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