Wiesenthal Centre to French UDI party: "In the Current Atmosphere of Resurgent Anti-Semitism, the Language attributed to Your Vice President Regarding Kosher Slaughter Appears, at Best, Imprudent"

Tel. : +33-01 47 23 76 37 - Fax : +33-01 47 20 84 01
Email : csweurope@gmail.com

Mr. President, we urge you to launch an enquiry and, in the interim, to suspend her responsibilities in your Party"

Paris, 28 August 2013

In a letter to French opposition UDI (Union of Democrats and Independents) party President, Jean-Louis Borloo, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed the outrage of his members at "the language and approach of your Vice-President, Senator Sylvie Goy-Chavent, towards 'Shechita' - Jewish kosher slaughter".

Samuels explained that "in the context of a parliamentary enquiry into the so-called "meat route" following the misrepresentation of horse meat as beef, the rapporteur, Senator Goy-Chavent's over one hour interrogation of Consistoire (French Kashrut Board) officials, was perceived as highly offensive". This can be seen on Senate television at http://www.europe-israel.org/2013/08/video-le-debat-complet-sur-la-viande-casher-goy-chavent-sylvie-face-a-joel-mergui/.

The letter explained, "The Senate Report, among its forty proposals, includes the labeling of kosher and halal meat as 'slaughtered without stunning'. This was already negated by the respective Presidents of the Consistoire, Joel Mergui and of the French Council for the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, due to 'the stigma implied in such labeling' ".

The Centre quoted from "an article in the current edition of the prestigious review La Règle du jeu by Anne-Sophie Sebban entitled 'the Alarming Drift of a UDI Senator' sets the tone. http://laregledujeu.org/2013/08/15/13905/la-derive-alarmante-dune-senatrice-udi/

Sebban picks up on Goy-Chavent's continual references to money and the inhumane nature of kosher slaughter, quoting especially from her Facebook page:-

- on the kosher meat market: 'It must handle millions of euros...There is a lot of money and it is this, perhaps, which awakens hatred...If there is nothing to hide, why not respond to my demands for transparency?'

- on the Senator's repeated expressions of concern that a percentage of kosher slaughtered meat enters the general market as cited by Sebban :'Are the Muslims of France, by buying halal meat, putting on their plates kosher meat? Do Christians cook kosher lamb for Easter? Precise labeling would answer all these simple questions and numerous others'.

- the Consistoire's rejection of her claim to scientific reports that Jewish slaughter was inhumane by pointing to other reports - such as the renowned animal behavior expert Temple Grandin - received a stunning response from Goy-Chavent, 'but those reports are by Jews' ".

The letter added, "The Consistoire argued that kosher slaughter - 'Shechta' was intrinsically humane, given statistics of stunning failure prolonging the animal's agony. Moreover, they drew her attention to blood sports as truly inhumane, an argument sharply rejected by the Senator".

Samuels argued that, "Jewish sensitivities to classical stereotypes linking them with money, brutality and power, were further aggravated by reports that the Senator's demand for labeling kosher meat had followed another statement of concern to much of the Jewish community, apparently, in a 2012 letter to President Hollande, 'Know that many Parliamentary colleagues and myself equally contemplate the possibility to boycott products produced by Israeli settlements on the West Bank' ".

The Centre drew attention to "a firm reaction from a Franco-Israeli website and harsh remarks from several subscribers,allegedly led the Senator to claim she was 'victim of a cabal' and in another letter to President Hollande to observe that, 'different persons, notably, Parliamentarians, have advised me to take care, as there may be an intervention against me by the special forces of a foreign power' ", continuing, "some members of the Jewish community have, we hope erroneously, speculated that this is an absurd reference to the Israeli Mossad".

Samuels lamented that, "in the current atmosphere of resurgent anti-Semitism across Europe, the language quoted regarding a Jewish dietary ritual in France appears, at best, imprudent and can fan the fire".

The Centre urged President Barloo "to launch an enquiry into the language attributed to your Vice-President, Senator Goy-Chavent and, in the interim, to suspend her responsibilities in your Party".

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).