Brussels– 18 May 2017 – The AJC Transatlantic Institute condemns the decision by the Walloon Parliament to ban religious slaughter as an attack not just against the Orthodox community that will be most directly affected but as an attack against Jewish life in Belgium in general.
“It is truly sad that the Belgian Jewish community, which already lives in a constant state of emergency--with military personnel guarding its schools and synagogues following the rise of anti-Semitic attacks and the terror attack against the Brussels Jewish Museum--is now also facing unjust laws from the legislature,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute.
“We agree with our partners at CCOJB (Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium) that if a country forbids Jewish rites, supposedly out of concern for animal welfare, but continues to allow the suffering of animals for purely economic reasons, such as battery or factory farming, it is sending a messag to its Jews that they are no longer welcome. Freedom of worship is a fundamental human right and must not be discarded so easily. We will support the CCOJB in any way we can to help undo this injustice,” Schwammenthal added.
Similar legislation is also in the works in Belgium’s other main region, Flanders, which would also forbid the ritual slaughter of unstunned animals as prescribed by Jewish religious law. Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark have already banned kosher slaughter, while some others—the Netherlands and Poland, for example—have experienced legislative efforts to do so.