BRUSSELS PARLIAMENT WON’T BAN KOSHER SLAUGHTER – EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION CHAIRMAN APPLAUDS DECISION

June 18, 2022

“Where Brussels has led, others must follow”, says EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, adds “thank goodness for 3 Parliaments in Belgium.”

 

(Brussels 17 June). In a closely contested vote (42 against, 38 for) the Brussels Parliament has just voted not to ban Kosher slaughter in the Capital Region.

 

The move represents a victory for Jews in the Belgian Capital and stands in contrast to both Flanders and Wallonia (Belgium’s other regions) where bans on Kosher slaughter are in place.

 

Welcoming the vote, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the Chairman of the European Jewish Association that represents hundreds of communities across the Continent, and whose offices are headquartered in Brussels said in a statement:

 

“After a steady stream of bans across Europe that has left many communities bereft of local Kosher meat and having to shoulder the increased expenses of importing meat, we applaud this vote by Belgium’s Capital Parliament.

 

“The expense of course is of secondary concern to the overwhelming feeling from communities across the continent that their faith and traditions are constantly under threat by ill-though out , or malign legislation. 

 

“It is not said too often, but thank goodness for 3 parliaments in Belgium. There are few bastions left where Freedom of Religion is still considered a fundamental right. As a citizen of Brussels, I am proud that the capital is such a bastion. Where Brussels has led, others must now follow”.

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“Schoenmaker, houd je bij je leest”, is a Dutch expression, which means “cobbler stick to your trade” And so, as I’m not a medic, I don’t get involved with medical technology. But if someone is dead, then I could and should get involved. And if something takes place between life and death, the dying process, then it seems to me that both the doctor and the rabbi may operate together (in the figurative sense of the word of course). What am I referring to? Organ donations. Not organ donations from a healthy person who donates a kidney to a fellow human being and thereby saves a life. Nor am I talking about donating organs after death, whether that should or should not be done. No, I’m referring to the case of a donor who would normally have been dead, kept alive artificially and now being used as an organ supplier. He is declared brain dead. In the past, a person was dead, alive or dying. We expect respect for life, for death, but also respect for that intermediate phase. I remember nurses in the gerontopsychiatric ward of the Sinai Center. “Mrs Cohen, how are you today? Your children have arrived to visit you.” They spoke fondly to Mrs. Cohen, who was on a ventilator, although perhaps she would have been legal declared brain dead if she had been a donor. But was Mrs. Cohen already dead? Her body still had temperature, her heart was beating, all organ functions were still intact and she was given medication. The donor is considered brain dead, which is a legal terminology. Without this legal assistance the donor would be considered alive! And ‘the operation’ would have bee an illegal and punishable act. Is the public aware that the donor will receive medication during the organ donation procedure? Medication for a dead body? He is given sleeping pills to control blood pressure. To counteract resistance, the donor was initially tied up to the bed, but nowadays muscle relaxants are administered by the anaesthetist. The impression that the donor is actively resisting is dismissed as reflexes! Enough written about organ donations. Another (less morbid?) topic: There is quite a bit of
opposition to kosher slaughter. I will spare you the details. But the cow would still be alive after the kosher slaughter, because there are visible reflexes. I just don't get it: cattle reflexes are signs of life; human donor reflexes are signs of death!? And therefore is my conclusion: when in doubt do without!

83 years after Kristallnacht, Jewish leader warns: Europe can become ‘Judenfrei’ in 10 years

“There are more Jews in Europe who think that there will be no more Jewish community here in a decade than those who think that there is still hope,” declared Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
“I am not saying that in ten years you will not be able to see Jewish people in Europe but I am very worried about the possibility to have Jewish presence in ten years from now,” he added as he addressed 160 ministers, parliamentarians and diplomats from across Europe who gathered for two days in Krakow, Poland, to discuss ways to increase Holocaust education and remembrance, fight against antisemitism and develop tools to combat hate speech and incitement in the age of social networks.
The gathering included also a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps where a candle lighting ceremony and wreath laying were held in the presence of Rabbi Meir Lau, former chief Rabbi of Israel and President of the Council of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

Among the speakers at the conference were Moroccan Minister of Culture and Youth Mohamed

Mehdi Bensaid, Roberta Metsola, European Parliament Vice-President, Hungarian Minister of Science and Education Zoltan Maruzsa, Minister of Education of Rhineland-Palatinate Stefanie Hubig, British Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi, as well as the Speakers of the Parliaments of Slovenia and Montenegro.
The conference took place on the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Broken Glass, when on 9 November 1938 the Nazis started the anti-Jewish pogroms by  killing Jews, burning 1400 synagogues and destroying shops owned by Jews across Germany and Austria.
“Europe is fighting anti-Semitism, but it is not winning yet. If this upward trend continues, more and more Jews will seek sanctuary in Israel rather than stay in a continent that cannot learn the lessons and cataclysmic mistakes of its past. We are not yet in the state of Judenfrei but, unfortunately we are approaching it,’’  Rabbi Margolin emphasized.
He noted that Jews who seek to eat according to the customs of their religion cannot do so in certain countries because of laws banning kosher slaughter. And in some cities on the continent Jews cannot walk safely in their traditional clothes.
“Education, he said, is the most effective vaccine in combatting the world’s oldest and most virulent virus.”
Addressing the symposium in a video from Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett said: “In the Middle Ages Jews were persecuted because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries Jews were reviled because of their race, and today Jews are attacked because of their Nation State, Israel.”
“It is worrying that there needs to be a conference about Anti-Semitism in Auschwitz so soon after the Holocaust,” the Israeli premier said, adding that “so long as Israel remains strong, Jewish people around the world will be strong.”
British Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi stated that: “The Holocaust was a failure for humanity and justice. The worst event in history. Nothing can erase the pain. I can feel the pain because my whole family has run away from Saddam Hussein’s rule. As Kurds, we had to escape. We fled when I was 7 years old from Iraq to the UK.”

The symposium in Krakow was followed by a visit of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps where a candle light ceremony and wreath laying took place.

He added: “I understand the important role of UK teachers in Holocaust education. Learning about history is something we sanctify in the UK. Due to the corona, virtual visits to Auschwitz increased. We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and racism. Anti-hate education is our top priority in the UK. I urge universities to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” he said in a reference to antisemitism  on campuses.
German Minister of Education of the Rhineland-Palatinate State, Stefanie Hubig  said: “I work hard to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in schools. We work to bring teachers to visit memorial sites and promote Jewish education in schools. This is all important because, unfortunately, there are still reasons why we must continue to remember.”
In a message from Rabat, Moroccan Minister of Culture and Youth, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, stressed that this conference is taking place at a time when more and more radical ideologies promoting anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia are flourishing. “As long as the danger of radicalism hovers over the world, we all have a duty to remind and teach our younger generation in Morocco and around the world about the dark chapter of the Holocaust in human history.”
Kálmán Szalai, secretary of the European Action and Protection League (APL) identified education as an important means of reducing anti-Semitic prejudice and emphasized that “the knowledge passed on to new generations can fundamentally influence the choice of values in adulthood”.
A recent survey by the APL showed the persistence of anti-Jewish prejudices in the population of several countries in Europe.

83 years after Kristallnacht, Jewish leader warns: Europe can become ‘Judenfrei’ in 10 years

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