Debates over Ritual-Slaughter Bans Heat Up in the European Union

Since 2019, citing concerns related to animal welfare, Belgium has outlawed the killing of animals for food without first stunning them. This law has created difficulties for religious Jews and Muslims, who now must import frozen meat from outside the country. As Eddy Wax writes, the ban may also contribute to a mischaracterization of religious communities as “medieval.”

“The discussion itself puts the Jews and also the Muslims in this case into a corner of ‘you do harm to animals,’ or ‘you are medieval,’” said [the EU official] Katharina von Schnurbein . . . on Wednesday at the European Jewish Community Center in Brussels.

The bans were challenged by religious groups but upheld by the Court of Justice of the EU in late 2020, in a surprising decision that said EU countries could restrict no-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare without infringing religious rights. . . . Bans are permissible provided countries do not contravene the EU’s charter of fundamental human rights, the court ruled.

“In some countries, we have seen also that this was only the start, and then the discussion about circumcision was next,” von Schnurbein said.

Read more at Politico

More about: Belgium, European Islam, European Jewry, European Union, Freedom of Religion


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict