Belgium Bans Kosher Slaughter

On the first day of this year, an effective ban on kosher and halal slaughter of animals went into effect in the Belgium’s Dutch-speaking Flanders region; a similar law will take effect in French-speaking Wallonia in September. The law affects not only Belgian Jews but also Jews in countries like Sweden who import their meat from Belgium. The editors of the Jerusalem Post write:

This law, like many others proposed and passed in Europe, was [supposedly written to guarantee the] humane treatment of animals, but a generous dose of anti-Muslim sentiment helped steward it into the law books. The government in Belgium recently fell apart as a result of a dispute over its refugee policy, so issues related to minorities are a hot topic in Brussels and Antwerp. As often happens when xenophobia spreads on the Continent, even when it’s not originally meant to target Jews, they suffer the consequences. . . .

There is a long tradition of European anti-Semites using animal rights to ban kosher slaughter. In Switzerland, which uses a system of referendums to decide on individual policies, the first such [referendum] was on banning sh’ḥitah, which was prohibited [throughout the country] in 1893. Norway banned slaughter without stunning in 1929, [effectively banning kosher slaughter, since halakhah forbids stunning], and Sweden followed in 1937. And, of course, Nazi Germany instituted such a ban, which spread to its Axis allies Italy and Hungary; all three [bans] were overturned. . . .

[Belgian legislators] claim to be taking a moral stand, when in fact, they’ve done the exact opposite—the immoral and undemocratic act of violating their citizens’ basic freedom of conscience.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, European Jewry, Freedom of Religion, Kashrut, Religion & Holidays


The Logic of Iran’s Global Terror Strategy

During the past few weeks, the Islamic Republic has brutally tried to crush mass demonstrations throughout its borders. In an in-depth study of Tehran’s strategies and tactics, Yossi Kuperwasser argues that such domestic repression is part of the same comprehensive strategy that includes its support for militias, guerrillas, and terrorist groups in the Middle East and further afield, as well as its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Each of these endeavors, writes Kuperwasser, serves the ayatollahs’ “aims of spreading Islam and reducing the influence of Western states.” The tactics vary:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Latin America, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy