Brussels, 17 December 2020 - The AJC Transatlantic Institute condemned today’s decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to effectively ban ritual and kosher slaughter.
“We are shocked by the EU Court of Justice decision, which is nothing less than a frontal assault on the basic rights and religious freedoms of Jews and Muslims in Europe. Within living memory of the Holocaust, a European court not only bans a core Jewish ritual but potentially Jewish life altogether in Europe, ” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “Only in September did the EU Advocate General argue that attempts to restrict kosher slaughter violate EU law guaranteeing freedom of religion. It is only in rare cases that the court would ignore the Advocate General’s decision. What a disgrace that the judges in Luxembourg chose to do so in order to strangle Jewish life in Europe.”
The verdict came in response to a complaint filed by the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB) against laws in Flanders and Wallonia mandating stunning before slaughtering, which is forbidden under Jewish law. The court decision means that not only these two major Belgian regions can go ahead with the effective ban of kosher slaughter but that such anti-Jewish laws can be implemented all over the EU.
“This is a dark day for the Jewish communities in Belgium and across Europe, which have already been living over the past years in a constant state of emergency due to the rise in antisemitism and murderous terror attacks,” Schwammenthal added. “But this is also a dark day for all of Europe when fundamental religious rights are no longer respected.”
The Council of the European Union, as well as the European Commission, explained that less restrictive measures were available to ensure animal welfare without disproportionately encroaching on religious freedom.
AJC will continue to support the CCOJB and all European Jewish communities to legally challenge this shameful verdict and have it reversed.