Greece’s top court bars ritual slaughter, after recent EU ruling upholding bans

October 28, 2021
The highest court in Greece has ruled against allowing ritual slaughter, fulfilling fears that some Jewish leaders voiced last year after the European Union’s top court ruled in support of such bans.
Last December, the EU’s highest court upheld the bans imposed in regions of Belgium against slaughtering animals for meat without stunning them first. The ruling meant that slaughter in accordance with Jewish law, which requires animals be conscious when their necks are cut, would be prohibited in those regions, as it is in some other parts of Europe.
Greece’s top court doesn’t cite that ruling in its decision on a petition filed by the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation, according to the Greek news site Protothema. But Jewish watchdogs who have been monitoring bans on ritual slaughter across the European continent say the connection is undeniable.
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome,” says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association. “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.”
The Greek court says there should be ways to meet the demands of animal rights advocates and the needs of Jews and Muslims who follow the laws about food in their traditions.
“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” the court says, according to Protothema.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/greeces-top-court-bars-ritual-slaughter-after-recent-eu-ruling-upholding-bans/

Additional Articles

Stunning religious practice in Europe

If the European Union wants to welcome Jews and Muslims, it needs to make their legitimate religious practices welcome as well.
Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s highest court, dealt a serious blow to ritual Jewish and Muslim methods of animal slaughter. The court upheld a Belgian law that requires that animals must be stunned before they are killed. Neither Jewish nor Muslim law allows for stunning in the slaughter process.
Proponents of the CJEU ruling and supporters of the Belgian law assert that the stun-first approach is more humane. Critics argue that properly executed slaughter is less painful and less traumatic for the animals. Either way, the ruling is a serious setback for religious freedom in Europe. And it isn’t clear whether the ruling would also prohibit the importation of slaughtered meat that has not observed the stun-first requirement.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, urged reconsideration. “Europe needs to reflect on the type of continent it wants to be. If values like freedom of religion and true diversity are integral, then the current system of law does not reflect that and needs to be urgently reviewed,” he said.
According to the CJEU, its ruling actually protects religious practices and doesn’t prohibit any religious observance. It argued that the ruling permitted religious practices since it “allow[s] a fair balance to be struck between the importance attached to animal welfare and the freedom of Jewish and Muslim believers to manifest their religion.”
That superficial analysis by the CJEU is remarkably naive and misinformed, since it improperly assumes that religious slaughter can be performed on a stunned animal. It cannot. And, besides, Jews and Muslims don’t want to “manifest” their religion — they want the freedom to practice their religions.
Two distinct elements in European society are promoting the ban on ritual slaughter. Opponents on the left are concerned about animal welfare, and see ritual slaughter as inhumane. Opponents on the far right are ultranationalists, who see Jewish and Muslim practices as alien imports to Christian Europe. Strange bedfellows, indeed. But through their issue alliance, opposition to ritual slaughter has taken on a life of its own, without regard to the sensibilities of Jews and Muslims.
According to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, had Belgium’s parliament “engaged properly with Jewish community officials before banning the practice, some satisfactory solutions could have been found, as has been the case in the Netherlands and elsewhere, because the method of slaughter is not crueler or [more] painful to animals than other methods.” But no such effort was made.
Not every Jew in Europe eats kosher meat. But the availability of kosher food is one of the markers of a thriving Jewish life. In a pluralistic society, every effort must be made to enable such religious observances. If the European Union wants to welcome Jews and Muslims, it needs to make their legitimate religious practices welcome as well.
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Trump's Jerusalem embassy move validates 3,500 years of Jewish history

I was grateful for the White House invitation to witness the historic opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Truth be told, I believe that every Jew in attendance was thinking of a father, a grandmother, a sibling wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust or any of the millions of Jews, who over two millennia were scattered to the four winds of exile—and on whose shoulders we stand today. For it was they, from Baghdad to Moscow, from New Delhi to New York, from Warsaw to Waukegan who down through the centuries–against all odds– dared to dream that someday, somehow, their offspring would return home to Zion, to Jerusalem.

From abandonment to validation

For over 1,900 years Jews in exile lived with the bitter bile of abandonment, bereft of rights, subject to the whims of rulers, demonized by religious authorities and derided by neighbors for being different.
The ultimate abandonment came with the Nazi Holocaust in the 1940s with the destruction of European Jewry. In fact, it was the West’s abandonment of Jews in the 1930s that sealed their fate long before the Nazis mass-murdered 6 million of our people—one third of world Jewry.
Validation
So how was possible that less than three years after Auschwitz, that the Jewish nation was (re)born?
It was in large measure because of one man who bucked the advice of diplomats and pundits to support a Jewish state— President Harry S. Truman.
Watching the video in Jerusalem of President Donald Trump’s speech from the White House, I kept thinking about the similar challenges both presidents faced when it came to U.S. policy in The Holy Land.
Truman, who never expected to be the vice president in 1944, let alone could have imagined that he would soon be president of the United States, had zero experience in foreign policy.
Once he became president he would rely heavily on Secretary of State George Marshall, a World War II hero who would go on to win the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize for The Marshall Plan that rebuilt a Europe shattered by war.
Marshall was bitterly opposed to a Jewish state. He was more concerned about having an uninterrupted supply of Arab oil than a people devastated by war and was convinced that the Jews couldn’t withstand an Arab military onslaught.
Marshall’s opposition was buttressed by virtually the entire State Department. At one point Marshall even threatened Truman that he would oppose the president’s reelection.
No matter, “Give ‘em Hell Harry” — with a push from his Jewish buddy and partner Eddie Jacobson—decided to override the “experts” and actively support the Jewish people’s quest for freedom.
On November 29, 1947, he instructed the U.S. to vote for statehood at the United Nations. A few months later, Truman decided that the U.S. would be the first nation to recognize the State of Israel, just 11 minutes after David Ben-Gurion declared the Jewish State.
Through his actions Truman not only changed history, he validated a people who had been left for dead.
Today the Jewish state is alive– a vibrant democracy and a font of ingenuity and creativity. But it is a nation still under siege—threatened by over 100,000 Hezbollah and Hamas missiles, terror tunnels and Iranian nuclear-tinged saber rattling.
Israel also faces a relentless asymmetrical war of demonization and delegitimization. From U.N. resolutions to church groups to academic assaults to global boycotts to social media campaigns, Zionists are denounced as racists and Israelis as Nazis, latter-day colonialists, interlopers and even  “fake” Jews.
Enter Donald Trump. With the stroke of a pen, he validated 3,500 years of Jewish history by opening the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, debunking the global smear campaign against the Jewish State.
His decision will also have an impact on Christian-Jewish relations. My grandparents fled Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th Century primarily because of theologically-fueled hatred from Christian churches and clergy.
They would have been shocked to see the hundreds of Christian Zionists who sat shoulder to shoulder with American and Israeli Jews at the embassy opening on Monday. And they would have been amazed to learn it was American Christians, led by a few million Evangelicals, who consistently reminded President Trump about candidate Trump’s promise to do right by Israel.
Unlike his predecessors who never lived up to their campaign promises — Trump just did. His place in history and in the annals of the people of Israel are secured forever.
The Article was published on Fox News

Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!

Norway Withholds Funding to Palestinian Authority Over Antisemitic and Jihadist Content in School Textbooks

Norway’s foreign minister on Thursday announced that funds earmarked for the Palestinian Authority’s education sector would be withheld until changes were made to schoolbooks that promoted antisemitism and terrorist violence against Israelis.
The decision followed a vote last December in the Norwegian parliament to demand such changes after the publication of a report by IMPACT-se — an NGO that analyzes school textbooks around the world for signs of intolerance — that demonstrated systematic insertions of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in the textbooks used by the PA.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that when she met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah in February, she had “communicated the government’s views on the matter, stressing that lack of improvements in the school curriculum could have budgetary implications for future Norwegian aid.”
Søreide expressed optimism that changes to the textbooks would be implemented. “We feel that there is a good and close dialogue with the Palestinian education authorities on the issue,” she said. “Some of the curriculum changes have already been made by Palestine’s own textbook quality control committee.”
A statement from IMPACT-se praised Søreide for her “unprecedented decision.”
“This remarkable pronouncement is a clear message that Norway’s elected leaders will not allow their generosity to be abused, to deliver a daily diet of violence, bigotry and incitement against Jews and Israel in Palestinian schools,” the NGO declared.
The article was published in the Algemeiner

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