Simon Wiesenthal Center Denounces Unanimous Belgian Anti-Shechita Vote: Jews Have Effectively Been Told to Leave

May 10th, 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO has denounced a unanimous decision to ban Jewish and halal slaughter by Belgian’s Wallonian Parliament.

A protest to Dirk Wouters, Belgium’s ambassador to the US by Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Associate Dean and Director of Interfaith Affairs of the Center, denouncing the measure, read in part:

“The arrogance and the willful ignorance underpinning the unanimous vote is stunning in its maliciousness. Jews need not be lectured about preventing cruelty to animals; our Bible and Talmud introduced the revolutionary concept to an idolatrous world, turned it into law, and bestowed it upon the rest of humanity. (Hunting remains a respected pastime in Belgium) …

Further, when Chief Rabbi of Brussels, Avraham Gigi, appeared before the Parliament to present scientific findings on the humaneness of kosher slaughter relative to prevailing standards of animal slaughter in Belgium, he was met with stone silence. None of the representatives, it appears, would allow any scientific truth to interfere with their biased vote…

The Jewish citizens of Belgium have been loyal to their nation and the values of your country. They have never turned to violence or hatred. Yet today, because of threats and intimidation many Jews no longer display their Jewish symbols publicly. Now, they have collectively been insulted and denigrated by a democratically elected body…

The people and elected representatives of Belgium should reflect on the fact that efforts in Europe to ban Jewish ritual slaughter date back to the late 19th century, virtually always raised by animal rights activists and immediately embraced and supercharged by anti-Semites. The Nazis made it a mainstay of their lurid propaganda in the 1930s…”

Wiesenthal Center officials explained that the parliament of Wallonia, one of the three administrative subdivisions of Belgium, voted to ban the slaughter of animals not preceded by stunning, effectively halting both Jewish and halal production. In doing so, they ignored arguments and evidence presented to them that the use of extremely sharp blades with no nicks may make kosher slaughter more humane than stunning, and that the rate of mis-stunnings in commercial production today average between 1.5-5%, leaving many animals frightened and conscious, while kosher slaughter extremely quickly renders animals totally unconscious.

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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).