Dutch on “a slippery slope” to populism, extremism and anti-Semitism

Feb 24, 2011

Dutch Consider Shechita Ban

Eli Shaw

A  LEADING shechita campaigner in the UK has expressed concern that proposals to ban religious slaughter in Holland could have a knock-on effect throughout Europe. A bill to ban shechita in The Netherlands is set to be presented to the Dutch Parliament.

If the legislation passes, it would make Holland the first European Union country to ban shechita, according to the European Jewish Congress. Speaking from Amsterdam where he is meeting representatives of the Dutch overnment this week, Shechita UK spokesman Chanoch Kesselman told the Jewish Tribune that the Dutch proposal was most disturbing. “Holland has always been a tolerant country and has been a safe haven for Jews for many centuries. The recommendation to ban shechita there will only serve to encourage other European countries to introduce similar measures.”

Shechita is permissible under European law and to ban it goes against the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which clearly states that there is freedom of religious practice.

The EJC last week called on Dutch politicians to vote against the bill. “Holland has always presented itself as an accepting society and a ban on a central part of Jewish identity would mean that Dutch politicians are turning their backs on the tolerant Holland that we admire”,  EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement. “While the legislation was drafted ostensibly because of animal rights concerns, it is a slippery slope to populism, extremism and anti-Semitism,” Kantor continued. “We call on Dutch politicians to carefully consider the ramifications of this bill and what it could do to Jewish life in Holland.”

The European Union Council last December rejected a controversial meat labelling requirement as part of its new food information regulation, that would have required that all meat and meat products that are kosher slaughtered to be pejoratively labelled as “meat from slaughter without stunning”.
A controversial ban on shechita put in place by New Zealand’s agriculture minister was partially reversed last November amid allegations that his decision was taken to appease Muslim countries that have lucrative trade relations with New Zealand. The ban on shechita of poultry was suspended, while the ban on beef remains.


The original article, from which the above has been abstracted, first appeared in the Jewish Tribune
24 Feb 2011