June 18, 2019

Austria State Official Suggests Jewish Registry to Buy Kosher Meat

A cabinet minister for an Austrian state has proposed implementing a Jewish registry to purchase kosher meat, a proposal that was met with fierce backlash.

The proposal came from Lower Austria State Councilor Gottfried Waldhäusl, who said it was necessary as a religious exemption to rules clamping down on animal slaughter.

“We are checking whether the demand for meat can be coupled to residency,” Waldhäusl told an Austrian newspaper.

Officials have already shot down the proposal.

“Nobody would, of course, need to register to buy kosher meat,” Klaus Schneeberger, who heads Lower Austria’s People’s Party, told an Austrian news outlet. The People’s Party controls the Lower Austria government.

Martin Weiss, the Austrian ambassador to Israel, tweeted, “Leading politicians from Lower Austria have thus gone on record & made it clear that they will find a solution together with these communities – and allay all fears!”

Numerous Jewish organizations condemned the proposal and compared it to Nazi Germany.

“What’s next, a star on the chest?” the American Jewish Committee in Berlin tweeted.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center similarly tweeted, “The stench of the #Nazi era reeks from this #antisemitic proposal. Registering #Jews in #Austria Treating #kosher meat as commodity that must be quarantined from the rest of the population? Disgusting.”

Waldhäusl is a member of the Freedom Party, a far-right party was established by a former Nazi officer.