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Subject Bans on Kosher meat in Anti-Semitic Europe
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Original Message In the past decade four European countries, Belgium, France Germany and Holland have banned the kosher slaughter of animals bringing the total number of European countries banning the practice to eight.

The Swiss banned kosher slaughter in 1902 and saw an anti-Semitic backlash against a proposal to refused to lift it a century later.

Both Holland and Switzerland have considered extending the ban in order to prohibit importing kosher products.

The former chief rabbi of Norway, Michael Melchior, argues that anti-Semitism is a motive for the bans:

"...it's certainly no coincidence that one of the first things Nazi Germany forbade was kosher slaughter. I also know that during the original debate on this issue in Norway, where shechitah has been banned since 1930, one of the parliamentarians said straight out, 'If they don't like it, let them go live somewhere else.'"

Melchior, who was serving as Israeli deputy foreign minister at the time of the Dutch debate, also said "they simply don't want foreigners and they don't want Jews...The lie that ritual slaughter is cruel simply shows a hatred for Jewish life."

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League says that the bans came about due to animal rights campaigners being "aided and abetted" by anti-Semitic politicians.

"Sometimes anti-Semites will use this as a vehicle to try to isolate the Jewish community by reaching out to those who are so preoccupied with [animal rights]...The key is whether or not there is a history in that country. ... What other issues of animal rights have they engaged in to prohibit cruelty? When they begin and end with kosher slaughter, that's when I become suspect."

Rabbi Menachem Genack, the kashrut administrator for the Orthodox Union said of the bans "It's ominous...This kind of legislation in Europe has to be understood in the context of European history. A person would have to be extremely naive not to think that this is linked to anti-Semitism."

"This is a trend that is very much worrying us," said Avi Beker, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress "We regard this as interference in Jewish religious practices."

In Switzerland, Christopher Blocker, a cabinet minister for the right-wing Swiss People's Party who was found guilty of anti-Semitism by a Zurich court in 1999, has supported calls to ban the import of kosher and halal meat.

The Swiss Animal Association called for a referendum on banning kosher imports.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]
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