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Jewish Groups Condemn EU Ruling Upholding Belgian Kosher Slaughter Ban

Jewish groups argued that the ruling abridged religious freedom since it effectively outlawed kosher slaughter of animals.
[additional-authors]
December 17, 2020
Photo by IAISI/Getty Images

Many Jewish groups condemned the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for upholding Belgium’s ban on kosher slaughter methods on December 17.

The Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post reported that the case before the ECJ centered around a Belgian regulation requiring that animals be stunned prior to being slaughtered, which would violate kosher standards.Various animal rights groups had lobbied for the regulation, arguing that it lessened animal suffering. The court concluded that the regulation struck “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.”

However, Jewish groups argued that the ruling abridged religious freedom since it effectively outlawed kosher slaughter of animals. Avi Mayer, managing director of global communications for the American Jewish Committee, noted in a tweet that the same regulation didn’t apply to hunting animals.

“If ‘animal welfare’ is so sacrosanct a value that the court is willing to sacrifice the religious freedom of millions of Jews and Muslims to protect it, the same rules should apply to everyone,” Mayer tweeted. “That the court appears to have discriminated against Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter should be cause for alarm.”

 

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement, “Tolerance and protection of a safe religious practice, which may offend some, is the essence of religious freedom. Sadly, the ECJ has effectively declared that there is no room for observant Jewish people in the European Union.”

Moshe Kantor, who heads the European Jewish Congress, similarly said in a statement that the organization will fight the ruling. “This ruling is a heavy blow to Jewish life in Europe and in essence tells Jews that our practices are no longer welcome,” he said. “Telling Jews that their ways are not welcome is just a short step from telling Jews that we are no longer welcome.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that the ruling shows that Jews “aren’t wanted in Europe” and that “it is important that a way is found to change the decision and enable Jewish [European Union] citizens to hold Jewish practices.”

Tablet senior writer Yair Rosenberg tweeted, “If you want to understand how ‘animal rights’ is used as cover by Europe’s Christian majority to persecute Muslim and Jewish minorities, consider this: Denmark banned kosher and halal slaughter in 2014 as ‘cruel to animals’ while continuing to be the world’s leading fur exporter.”

https://twitter.com/Yair_Rosenberg/status/1339646644388769794?s=20

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