Rabbi warns Dutch MP Wilders on ritual ban
AMSTERDAMIsrael’s leading rabbi has warned Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders that his party’s support for a ban of ritual slaughter of animals in the Netherlands is “anti-Semitic” and could drive away the country’s Jewish community.
A bill proposed by an animal rights party stating that livestock must be stunned before being slaughtered passed through the lower of house of Parliament in June 2011, but did not make it through the senate, where a compromise was reached allowing the practice to continue.
Wilders rose to prominence in the Netherlands denouncing the growing influence of Islam in the West, calling for a ban against Muslim immigrants, a halt to the construction of mosques and a ban on Muslim face-veils.
Some of his most outspoken supporters are in the conservative, pro-Israeli movement in the United States. Wilders calls himself Israel’s “greatest friend” and has also proposed creating a national Dutch holiday to commemorate the victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
In a letter to Wilders on Aug. 28, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger called on Wilders’ Freedom Party to stop backing a ban on ritual slaughter.
Metzger wrote that he was “shocked and upset to learn that your party once again has adopted a total ban on ritual slaughter in its platform.” “This is the classical anti-Semitic way our rites have been targeted and demonised throughout history,” he wrote.
Both Muslim halal and Jewish kosher laws require animals to be conscious when they are put to death.