Metzger: Remove anti-shechita policy

A bill banning religious slaughter was passed by the Dutch parliament’s in 2011, with the support of Wilders’s party.

August 30, 2012 02:04
2 minute read.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders

Dutch politician Geert Wilders 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Jerry Lampen)


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Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger wrote a letter to Dutch politician Geert Wilders on Tuesday requesting that he rescind a policy on his party’s electoral manifesto that seeks to ban religious slaughter in the Netherlands.

Wilders’s far-right Party for Freedom was founded on a platform of strict immigration controls and the preservation of Holland’s traditional cultural values, in reaction to the country’s growing Muslim population, but the party has been accused of racism.

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Among other policies, the Party for Freedom has adopted a stance opposing religious slaughter, including the shechita practiced by Jews and the slaughter practiced by Muslims – a position reiterated in the party’s current electoral platform ahead of general elections scheduled for September 12.

Wilders himself has said that “Islam is not a religion” but “the ideology of a retarded culture,” and that the Koran is a fascist book which incites violence.

A bill banning religious slaughter was passed by the Dutch parliament’s lower house in June 2011, with the support of Wilders’s party, although it was rejected by the upper house earlier this year.

“I am shocked and upset to learn that your party once again has adopted a total ban on ritual slaughter in its platform for the September 12 upcoming general elections,” Rabbi Metzger wrote to Wilders.

“By denying Jews [the right] to live according to the Torah you will eventually force them to leave the Netherlands, where they have enjoyed religious freedom for centuries and have lived since the 12th century.”

Metzger also denounced Dion Graus, the Party of Freedom politician who has led the charge on the issue for the faction, noting that he has in the past likened animal slaughter without stunning as “ritual torture” of animals.

The chief rabbi urged Wilders to remove the policy from his party platform and “publicly dissociate” himself from Graus.

Metzger did however acknowledge Wilders’s record of strong support for the State of Israel, saying that he “respected and thanked” him for it.

“It is obvious that one cannot be at the same time a friend of Israel and the Jewish people, and on the other hand support an anti- Jewish law and be friends with Mr. Dion Graus,” the rabbi nevertheless concluded.

The Party of Freedom did not respond to The Jerusalem Post’s request for comment.

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