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Dutch Freedom Party Urged to Drop Shechita Ban from Platform

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged Geert Wilders, leader of Dutch conservative Freedom Party, to drop the party's call to ban Shechita.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/23/2012, 7:52 PM

Non- kosher restaurant
Non- kosher restaurant
israel news photo: Flash 90

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch conservative Freedom Party, to drop the party's call to ban the Jewish practice of Shechita, or ritual slaughter of animals, from its platform before the Netherlands’ Sept 12th national elections, saying it “will further encourage and empower anti-Semitism across Europe.”

“The demonization of core Jewish rituals has historically been the domain of tyrants and dictators, often contributing to severe discrimination, violence and even genocide against the Jewish people…,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center wrote in an e-mail to Wilders.

“Should such a bill become the law of the land, it would threaten the future viability of the Dutch Jewish Community,” he said, adding that it would “encourage others across Europe to adopt the same draconian measure.”

He continued to state that such a trend “along with growing moves in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Norway to ban Brit Milah, the ritual of male circumcision, represent an attack to core Jewish values not seen in Europe since the tyrannical regimes of Stalinist Russia and Hitler’s genocidal Third Reich, would threaten the viability of European Jewish communities."

Cooper singled out Dion Graus, a Freedom Party parliamentarian who has been called “a serious danger to the Dutch Jewish community and to that of European Jewry at large” by Dutch Jewish leaders, for having “…repeatedly accused the Jewish practice of Shechita to constitute "torture", [revealing] an animus against our religious practice that impacts all Jews, wherever they live.”