Chief Rabbi: Kosher registry is antisemitic

Right-wing politician Gottfried Waldhäusl (FPÖ) recently called for a registry of people who buy kosher meat. Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt comments on the matter in an interview with Der Standard.

Roxane Seckauer
Roxane Seckauer Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Chief Rabbi: Kosher registry is antisemitic - NewsMavens
Pinchas Goldschmidt.. Adam Guz/REPORTER

Why this story matters:

Both kosher and halal meat require the ritual slaughtering of livestock, and Gottfried Waldhäusl of the right-wing freedom party wants purchasers of these types of meat to be registered.

In the opinion of Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi and President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), the proposal is reminiscent of the Nazi era.

Right-wing parties in Austria, Goldschmidt finds, adamantly deny accusations of antisemitism, but then repeatedly attempt to restrict religious freedom.

The rabbi also refutes the argument that kosher slaughtering harms animals more than conventional methods.

Ultimately, the debate has nothing to do with animal welfare, and everything to do with fostering fear of otherness.

"One is accepted, the other is not," says the Chief Rabbi.

Details from the story:

  • Ritual slaughtering is common in Judaism and Islam. The animal is killed by a cut at the bottom of the neck.
  • In Austria, the Animal Welfare Act requires that all slaughtered animals be stunned immediately after the cut. Livestock may only be slaughtered at a certified slaughterhouse and under the supervision of a veterinarian.
  • Under kosher law, animals are closely examined for health concerns, and are only consumed if found perfectly healthy, thus fostering more concern for animal welfare, explains Goldschmidt.
  • Although Jews have lived in Europe "for ages," the Chief Rabbi sees that acceptation has decreased amidst "fear policy" and anti-migrant discourse.
  • In 1933, the prohibition of kosher killings was one of the first laws introduced by Adolf Hitler. It was meant to force Jews to emigrate.
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