Last week, the European Union Court of Justice upheld a ban on kosher and hallal slaughter in Belgium, The Jerusalem Post reported. While Brooke Goldstein, who helped with the legal challenge, called it a “shameful ruling,” and warned that “the religious freedom of millions of Europeans has been put in jeopardy,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry seems to have “read the lips” of the EU court more clearly, stating that the decision “signals to Jewish communities that they are not wanted in Europe.”
This would not be the first time that European countries have used kosher slaughter bans as a means to deter Jews from immigrating to them or as a way to push them out. According to The Jerusalem Post, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said bans on religious slaughter have been an attempt to control a country’s population and can be traced back to the 1800s, when Switzerland attempted to stop Jews fleeing pogroms from entering their country, and can also be traced to Nazi Germany. According to Goldschmidt, “Europe needs to reflect on the type of continent it wants to be.”
In my view, Europe has already reflected on this question and decided that it wants to be Jew-free. Several countries, such as Denmark, Iceland, and Finland, are already mulling a ban on circumcision, and the recent EU Court of Justice ruling on kosher food is certain to encourage other countries to follow in Belgium’s footsteps.
Antisemitism in Europe is deeply rooted. Jews have been beaten, banished, and burned all over the continent for as long as they have lived there. The fact that technology has made life easier has not changed people’s hearts. If we need proof, we need only look to the events of the 1940s, when the most civilized country in Europe, and possibly the world, and the second most technologically advanced (after the United States), resolved to eliminate the Jews.
If anything surprises me about this decision, it is the reaction of Jewish leaders. If they are genuinely surprised by this decision, it is very discouraging.
In my view, within a year or two, many other countries will join Belgium’s decision and will take action to deter Jews from living in them. It will happen all over Europe. Another possible scenario, which is even more radical than bans in specific countries, is that the EU court will resolve to ban Jewish laws all over Europe.
There is a Russian antisemitic joke that every Jew who leaves Moscow gets a “Liberator of Moscow” medal. I think Europeans, too, will be happy to award Jews medals for moving out of their cities and countries. It is not unlike what Hitler did when he sent out 900 Jews from Germany on the luxurious ocean-liner SS St. Louis en route to Cuba and from there to the US, but neither Cuba nor the US would have them so they were forced back to Europe, where many of them perished in the Holocaust.
I truly wish we Jews were smarter. It’s as if our nation is stupefied by complacency, and an opaque cloud of folly comes over us in good times and doesn’t let us see how perilous matters have become. We think that as long as we can do business in Europe, and as long as we have some friends who aren’t Jewish, we’re safe. This is not the case and it is no longer safe. In Europe, the good times are over, and in the US, they’re quickly ending, too.
[Illustration picture shows inside of the Moryah Synagogue of the Shomre Hadas community, in Antwerp, Thursday 10 December 2020. A synagogue is used by jews to pray, study and assemble. A few jewish organisations sued the Belgian state, claiming that forbidding religious assemblies is unconstitutional. The Belgian constitutional court agreed with that and gave the federal government five days to change the rules concerning religious gatherings in the set of measures taken in the ongoing coronavirus crisis. BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM.]