The Intolerance of Demanding that Meat Slaughtered According to Jewish Ritual Be Specially Labelled

November 27, 2017

By Rabbi Menachem Margolin (05/02/2014)
Recent months have seen revived attempts by politicians, both in the European Parliament and as domestic level in various EU member states, to legislate on the sacred ritual tradition of Jewish animal slaughter. A September draft written declaration in the European Parliament called on the Commission to instigate special labelling for the meat of ritually slaughtered animals, to eliminate “misleading omissions liable to distort the transactional decisions of consumers”, whilst claiming that consumers should have the right to ensure the meat they are purchasing comes from animals that have been slaughtered with proper regard to animal welfare.
The Polish parliament dismissed a government-sponsored bill to protect the religious slaughter of animals, whilst their Lithuanian counterparts voted in legislation aimed at protecting the practice.
The ability to eat kosher meat is a fundamental right for all people. The fact is that many people prefer to eat kosher meat simply for health reasons, regardless of religious beliefs or considerations.
Of course, everyone must respect the public’s right to know; there is no question that it is fair and correct to require listing a food’s ingredients on the label. Nevertheless, it is clear that the calls of a number EU member states to label meat slaughtered according to religious ritual as such, sets off many alarms – history has shown that such demands have led to large-scale bloodshed (human, not animal blood).
Did these pluralistic liberals, before attempting to isolate their neighbours who subscribe to different lifestyle choices, ascertain whether or not traditional kosher slaughter causes more harm or abuse to animals, G-d forbid, than other methods of slaughter? Had they conducted that research, they would have discovered that countless objective authorities agree that religious slaughter – both by Jewish and Muslim doctrine – is the least painful method of animal slaughter. In fact, the Jewish kosher slaughter code requires that no less than thirteen steps be taken before an animal may be slaughtered. One of these requirements is to verify that the animal is not hungry or thirsty when it is slaughtered.
If those “enlightened” individuals were truly concerned about animal rights, they would declare war on all forms of slaughter. Animal rights are not guaranteed by disparaging one particular method of killing animals, whilst allowing others to continue unabated, including hunting or factory slaughter?
And if allowances must be made, considering most people consume meat top some degree, and our decision-makers choose instead to legislate on the most humane method of slaughter (is it humane to put a living thing to death in any manner?), they ought to worry about the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter. They should be concerned about ensuring
sufficient living space, quality and quantity of food, medications, comfort level during  transportation for slaughter, quality and wattage of the electric shocks administered for slaughter, the number of shots needed to kill an animal, and more.
The number of animals slaughtered each year according to kosher standards is less than 1 percent of those slaughtered by other methods. If the issue in question here is the public’s right to know, what logic is there in demanding that kosher meat be labelled, without addressing the 99.9 percent of the slaughtered animals in the country?
For the past 3,000 years, the Jewish people have had to deal constantly with innumerable attempts to infringe upon their freedom of religion – a liberty that has long been established as a basic human right.
As well as being illogical and inconsistent from the perspectiveof animal rights, labelling kosher meat will give ammunition to anti-Semites to attack Jewish tradition. It is very disturbing to note that people who claim to be enlightened liberals are advancing this motion. These people who present themselves as pluralists are, perhaps unwittingly, waging an all-out war against anyone who chooses to live differently from them.
In the 1930s, things began with the burning of books and ended with the burning of human beings. I shudder to think how this new discrimination, beginning with methods of animal slaughter, will end.

Additional Articles

EJA Meeting with PM of of Croatia

Despite the hectic EU Summit schedule, the EJA was honoured that the Prime Minister of Croatia, His Excelency Mr Andrey Plenkovic, took the time to meet today with a delegation from the European Jewish Associa
The wide-ranging meeting covered a lot of ground, including the eventual adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism by Croatia, security concerns for the community in Zagreb, a briefing on the Zagreb opening of the Chesed centre for the loaning of medical equipment to all in need, an initiative to provide holocaust education via gentle and innovative means to younger schoolchildren as well as a fruitful discussion regarding involvement to the EJA’s Delegation to Auschwitz in November.
The EJA thanks Prime Minister Plenkovic for the care and attention he and his government shows to Jews in Croatia and across Europe, and notes that Jews feel safe and secure living and visiting the Country.

Eighth Candle of Chanukah- #LightingEurope

As a part of our #LightingEurope canpaign for the eighth and last Candle of Chanukah we are honored to have Ruth Dureghello, President of the Jewish Community of Rome with some special word for the holiday.

Swiss Government Neglects Security of Country’s Jews

After the recent terrorist murders of Jews in France, Belgium and Denmark, other Western European governments are beginning to understand that it is their legal and moral duty to protect the institutions of their Jewish minority.
Yet on this issue, Switzerland lags far behind other countries. This is particularly worrying in light of the deadly shooting in 2001 in a Zurich street, where an Israeli rabbi (recognizable as a Jew by his clothing) was murdered. The case has never been solved.
Switzerland has a population of 8.4 million; less than 18,000 are Jews.
The largest Jewish organization is the nominally orthodox Federation of Jewish communities (SIG). It has, at most, 12,000 members. Assessments by Swiss intelligence agencies and police over the past two years have shown that there are substantial threats against Jewish institutions there.
Because Switzerland is a federal state, it is sometimes unclear when security is the responsibility of the national government, the canton (province), or the municipality in which an institution is located. Overall, Jewish community security costs are estimated to be from $5 -7 million dollars a year, a large amount for such a small group.
The discussion on who is responsible for security (and paying for it) has been going on for several years. Only in October 2017 did the Swiss government admit for the first time that it has a duty to protect the Jewish minority –without saying how it would provide or pay for this security.
At the end of 2016, for example, it was scandalously suggested that Jews should create a fund with their own money in order to take care of their security. Some funds have been made available for one Jewish community in Zurich by the cantonthough these are not destined for security. For the other communities and synagogues in the town, no funds are provided.
The situation is particularly problematic in the third largest — and 212 year old — Jewish community of Basel, which faces a huge deficit and ultimately perhaps bankruptcy. It currently has the choice between reducing activities or having less security. First the government of the canton — and then the parliament (Grosser Rat) — voted down subsidizing security measures. The parliament has also refused to increase financing of the police force, despite the general terror threat in Europe and Switzerland.
But after the lethal Christmas market attack by a Muslim terrorist in Berlin in December 2016, measures were taken in Switzerland last year to protect Christmas markets. A heavily armed police presence was introduced, and several Christmas markets were fortified. Funding for these security measures was provided by the state.
One might recall some other elements of the unfriendly past attitudes of Switzerland to its Jews.
Switzerland only reluctantly granted its Jews full emancipation under US and French economic pressure. Switzerland was also the first European country to outlaw Jewish ritual slaughter in 1894; this was part of a desire to stop Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.
During the Second World War, some of the Jews who fled from the Nazis were allowed in, but many others were returned to Nazi-occupied countries, where they faced lethal risks. After the war, a concentrated effort was made to force almost all of the 22,500 refugee Jews in the country to leave.
In the 1990s, it became known that Swiss banks had been systematically stalling efforts of Holocaust survivors to obtain money that their murdered relatives had placed there. In 1997, a case where a leading Swiss bank was caught destroying documents on dormant Jewish accounts shook the country to the core.
Ultimately the World Jewish Congress brought two American political adversaries together — US President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato. They took an interest in the dormant bank accounts issue, which led to pressure on Switzerland.
A commission led by the former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, investigated the dormant bank accounts issue. One scandal it discovered was that the deposits in many such accounts had been eaten away by annual bank fees and service charges — or had simply been transferred to the banks’ profits.
The then-president of Switzerland, Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, claimed that Jewish organizations were trying to “blackmail Switzerland into paying them large sums of money to destabilize Switzerland and destroy its banking industry.” This made the scandal even bigger. His apology was considered insufficient.
In recent months, several American Jewish organizations and even US politicians have started to take an interest in Switzerland’s discriminatory attitude toward the security of Jewish institutions. If the Swiss authorities do not act in the near future in a substantial way on this issue, they may risk yet another scandal abroad.
But it would be far worse if a terrorist attack on a Jewish institution would happen before then.
The article was published in The Algemeiner

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Cancels Belgian TV Appearance Over ‘Anti-Semitic’ Parade Float

Dutch actor Carice van Houten has canceled an upcoming television appearance in Belgium after the country’s city of Aalst featured a parade float that UNESCO has branded “racist and anti-Semitic.”
While the Aalst Carnival was celebrated back in March, the event continues to have a present-day impact on Belgian relations after the city’s mayor, Christoph D'Haese, renounced the event’s UNESCO “World Intangible Cultural Heritage” title on Sunday.
"We have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints and Aalst will renounce its UNESCO recognition,” D'Haese announced before doubling down on the float’s legitimacy within the parade’s context. “We are neither anti-Semitic nor racist. All those who support this are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire."
As a response to the decision, van Houten - popularly known for her portrayal of Melisandre in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” - joined colleague Halina Reijn, an actor and writer, in solidarity after she nixed her scheduled appearance on the Belgian talk show “The Appointment.”
“The Appointment” presenter Phara de Aguirre revealed that Reijn - who is married to a Jewish soccer player - labeled D’Haese “an anti-Semite” and refused to appear on the show due to its decision to also host the Aalst mayor, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Tuesday.
“No Halina Reijn and Carice Van Houten as advertised,” de Aguirre wrote in a since-deleted tweet on Monday, according to the JTA. “Reijn is married to a Jewish man and doesn’t want to share a table with Aalst’s mayor.”
The notorious float made its appearance during the Aalst Carnival on March 3 and immediately drew ire from the global Jewish community for its caricatured representation of Orthodox Jews with rats on their shoulders surrounded by gold coins and money bags.
The carnival also featured individuals in Ku Klux Klan garb and others donning blackface.
Weeks after the float’s appearance, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay labeled the display “racist and anti-Semitic,” adding that the agency would remain “vigilant and uncompromising regarding such occurrences” at the carnival, which was added to the list in 2010. The motion was then tabled until UNESCO’s December committee meeting in Bogotá, Colombia.
However, a draft resolution concerning the festival’s removal became public knowledge last month.
“These acts, whether or not intentional, contradict the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals,” the committee document read.
Despite whispers about the fate of the Aalst Carnival’s standing with UNESCO, European Jewish Association President Rabbi Menachem Margolin said D’Haese and other town officials were “jumping before they were pushed” in their decision to withdraw from the list, according to a statement obtained by the JTA.
The article was published on Sputnik
Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
Poland