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/

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Mr Romano Bolkovic- Our New Chief Co-ordinator for Southeast Europe of Committee for combatting Antisemitism

The EJA is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Romano Bolkovic as our Chief Co-ordinator for Southeast Europe on our Committee for Combatting Antisemitism.
Mr Bolkovic is a great friend of the Association and well known to anybody in Croatia where his journalistic talents, as well as wide network of contacts in political, cultural and economic life, are exemplary and without compare.
He is an editor and journalist at Croatian Television where he hosts a weekly prime-time interview called "Romano Bolković - 1 on 1", whose guests include Presidents and Prime Ministers of European countries, as well as those engaged in the social, cultural and political life in Croatia, the region and across Europe.
He wrote for leading Croatian newspapers such as "Globus", "Jutarnji list" and "Večernji list", and is a regular columnist for "Objektiv" and "Storybook". A member of the Croatian Writers' Association and of the presidency of the Croatian Social Liberal Party, he is also a Commander of the European Order of St. George of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen. He lives in Zagreb and Berlin.

Belgian MP Michael Freilich calls on the Belgian government to cancel its Durban Conference attendance, on behalf of the Belgian N-VA party.

The EJA firmly stands behind MP Michael Freilich's call to cancel Belgium’s attendance at the 2021 Durban Conference, an action which dozens of other states have already undertaken. The Conference, which is a supposed anti-racism event, fails to address mounting antisemitism.

In the past, the conference has even been a platform for Jew-hatred to be spread. Antisemitic flyers and books, such as the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, have frequently appeared. Moreover, in the latest event, flyers were distributed of Hitler allegedly saying “What if I had won? The good things; There would be NO Israel and NO Palestinian’s blood shed- The rest is your guess.” According to UN Watch, the UN’s Durban conference has repeatedly exclusively targeted Israel and basic rights of the Jewish people whilst permitting the voices of the hateful to be amplified. U.S. Congressman & Holocaust Survivor Tom Lantos comments: “It was the most sickening display of hate for Jews I have seen since the Nazi period.”

Such an event can not be legitimized through the attendance of national representatives and participation is to be cancelled immediately. The focus on inclusive and pro-active measures to rid society of all types of hate is not to be undermined and should be continued under effective conferences and events.

Concerns about politics

Diary March 18
Concerns about politics.
One of the prominent figures of the Jewish Netherlands, who is apparently occasionally
tormented by the disease called jealousy, approached me with the comment that he had
heard that I will be speaking next Sunday for the NIK on Zoom because of Pesach and
expressed the hope that I would not speak about anti-Semitism again and would not have
my message / lecture included with 'those Christians'.
Of course I don't have to justify myself and I can do whatever I want, but it bothered me
anyway. Because with "those Christians" professional recording equipment was available
and "those Christians" were willing to make a good recording completely free of charge, I
had made my NIK Hanukkah presentation with and by "those Christians".
Some years ago I had received a similar comment, from that same person, about "those
Christians." I needed to have less contact with them. I understand that setup. What I did not
fully understand, however, was that the same critic then went to "those Christians" to ask
for financial support for his, otherwise fine, projects.
Nothing new under the sun. I remember speaking to an eminent physician some time ago.
This ‘eminence’, he told me personally, was not so much down to his expertise in his field,
but as a much about his political qualities. No, he was not in politics, he was referring to
politics at the top of his university hospital. When I heard a little bit of that politics I
immediately thought of the rabbinic world! (Just kidding, because rabbis don't do politics!)
Because there is politics everywhere. Especially in the real and necessary democratic
politics: The elections!
I haven't been able to sleep all night. When I looked at the new composition of the House of
Representatives, I was overcome with concern. I hope and pray that I misjudge it
completely, but I fear it. Of course, there can be criticism of Israeli Politics, that does not
have to be a sign of anti-Semitism.
But if there is only talk about Israel and not a word is mentioned about the feudal
dictatorships of the countries around Israel, then I do not understand.
I understand and accept that one of our prominent mayors in a speech at #
MayorsAgainstAntisemtism # claims that criticism of Netanyahu is allowed, as well as
criticism of Rutte. But that's not the problem. Criticism of Netanyahu is allowed, 50% of
Israel criticizes him and that does not degrade them to anti-Semites.
The problem is that there is almost exclusively criticism of Israel. That Israel is by far at the
top of the list for UN Resolutions. The role of a mayor should be in trying to connect his
townspeople, and that does not happen by importing sensitive foreign conflicts. Do I think
this mayor is anti-Semitic? Absolutely not! Do I think this mayor should be allowed to
criticize Netanyahu? Sure! But what I regret is that criticism of Israel unfortunately and
often unintentionally leads to anti-Semitism.
How often am I not allowed to explain that I speak Dutch, although I am a Jew but not born
in Israel. The superficial one-sidedness in the experience, however nuanced a mayor may
present it, causes anti-Semitism here in our country. And so: if the mayor believes we
should keep the Middle East problem out of the city, then criticize Israel, Jordan, Yemen,
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, China, on… and on…. But even better: let the mayor try to
bind the various population groups within the city limits and call them to develop activities
that unite together. And then, if connections and friendships have arisen, then, despite the
diversity, the friendship itself can look at bottlenecks and differences of opinion that
seemed unmentionable. Do you think that can succeed? Often not, but sometimes it does.
And sometimes I cherish that, because I have sometimes been able to experience this often!
And to the prominent Jewish Dutchman I would like to say: next week it is Pesach and Jews
all over the world read the Hagadah, which describes the Exodus from Egypt at that time.
And what do we read there about the present and now? "Because in every generation we
are rebelled against us to destroy us," literally. And then the text continues and says that
G-d will save us in the end. The Jewish people live and survive, but all kinds of things happen
along the way. We must know, prevent and combat that, but not deny it! I hope that the
new House of Representatives will want to fight that battle with us and will want to exercise
vigilance.

It was a Boiling Hot Sauna! - Chief Rabbi Jacobs

It was a boiling hot sauna!
This week we are in the days of Selichot, days of preparation for the Jamiem Noraim, the Days of awe, preceding the festival of the Jewish New Year.
Awe is of great importance, because if there is a lack of 'awe', a society just goes in the wrong direction. This thought came to my mind when I was present in Westerbork, former Dutch deportationcamp to welcome the cyclists who had participated in “Back to Westerbork”. Tears welled up in my eyes. All young people who had made the journey from Auschwitz to Westerbork, én route had visited the various concentration camps, other places of horror and were now back in Westerbork. Awe! Lack of awe can lead to anarchy. But submitting to a wrong authority can lead to what happened in WWII. Eighty percent of my family ended up in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Sobibor via Westerbork! And now some 70 young people were cycling there, giving a stern warning about the dangers of submission to a wrong authority. Young people from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. To my right a German Minister, to my left the ambassador of Poland and the King's Commissioner in the province of Drenthe was also emphatically present, Mrs Jetta Klijnsma. What a powerful woman! I was delighted and grateful that my speech and the sounds of the shofar were clearly heard and penetrated. As I sit here typing, I feel a lump in my throat. I would like to embrace all those cyclists with gratitude for their great performance and especially for the hard demonstration. Yes, every morning in these days before the Awe-inspiring days of Jewish New Year I get up earlier to say extra prayers, but this gathering was all encouragement and awe-inspiring. A hot shower! I also felt that warm shower this morning in Ede where a meeting was organized by a group of faithful Christians.
In October 2020, representatives of various denominations at the Israeli embassy in The Hague had pleaded guilty for the churches' negligence towards Jews before, during and after World War II. Now that antisemitism is unfortunately on the rise again, the right question has arisen as to what attitude the churches will adopt at the beginning of the 21st century. Therefore, representatives of churches organized an appeal meeting to speak on this subject. Speakers included Israel's ambassador, Z.E.N. Gilon and my person. It was clear that those present are pro-Israel. But it also became clear, and I myself have expressed this very emphatically, that the love for Israel is diminishing among the church youth. This concerns me, a concern shared by those in attendance. And yet the symposium was a hot shower, so hot shower number two. I experienced the third shower on Urk, a former island, which is know for its love and support for Israel. In the Town Hall, the ambassador of Israel, two representatives of Christians for Israel and the undersigned, were received by the mayor and his aldermen. Why were we at the Town Hall? From 14:00 to 22:00 there was a magnificent afternoon and evening for 'The entrepreneurship platform of Christians for Israel' on Urk.  Of course the ambassador was present again, whom I met there for the third time that day. In the afternoon, the 180 attendees were split in two. Group one was given a tour of the fishing company DaySeaDay and group two was shown around the alleys of Urk. More than €140,000 was raised that evening for the construction of a youth center in Jerusalem. What warmth, what friendship, what enthusiasm and what a honor and how unique that I, as Chief Rabbi, could be a part of such a gathering. Music, a Zoom connection with Israel, a dinner (for Blouma and for me kosher of course) and inspiring speeches. But if you expect me to call this evening the third hot shower, you are wrong! It was not a hot shower, but a boiling hot sauna!


During the corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural
Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents on https://niw.nl/category/dagboek/

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