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Spengler

Poland is the latest country to ban kosher slaughter on the spurious grounds of humane treatment of animals. Last Friday, the Polish parliament rejected legislation from the Polish government that would have permitted kosher slaughter. New regulations from the European Community requiring animals to be stunned electronically before slaughter made it necessary for national governments to create an exception for religious practice. To its disgrace, Polish legislators refused to do so. This elicited condemnation by Jewish organizations and protests from the Israeli government.

No English-language media–and none of Jewish blogs–reported that the Polish Catholic Church defended the right of Jews to practice kosher slaughter — as did the Dutch Catholic Church when the same issue came up last year in the Netherlands. A friend in Poland sent me the statement of Bishop Mieczyslaw Cislo, President of the Polish Episcopate’ Committee for Dialogue with Judaism, defending the Jewish position: “Ritual slaughter in accordance with centuries-old religious Jewish tradition does not have to be in conflict with the principle of humane treatment of animals. [...] In case of conflict between modern sensibility to the rights of animals to be treated with dignity and the right to freedom of religion, you have to opt for the priority right to religious freedom because of its fundamental character.”

The Catholic Church as well as the Polish government are defending Jewish religious freedom. The persecutors of Jewish religious practice are the Polish left-wing parties. Commentary’s blog got that part of the story right:

The two main Polish political parties that opposed the government bill are not, as might reasonably be expected, populated by snarling right-wing skinheads. One of them, the Democratic Left Party, or SLD, was co-founded by Alexander Kwasniewski, who served as Poland’s president from 1995-2005. Throughout his time in office, Kwasniewski was feted by Jewish groups, particularly in the United States, for his strong stand against anti-Semitism; after leaving office, he was one of the backers of the European Council for Tolerance and Reconciliation, an organization that is unlikely to share the SLD’s revulsion for shechita.

The other party, the Palikot Movement (named for its founder, Janusz Palikot), is variously described as liberal, even libertarian. The party’s support for gay civil unions and the legalization of soft drugs are noteworthy in a country that remains socially conservative and devoutly Catholic. Yet one of Palikot’s leaders, Andrzej Rozenek, sounded like a traditional anti-Semite when he declared that “there is no permission for animal cruelty in the name of money”–the implication being that what really worries Jewish defenders of shechita is the loss of a $400 million dollar regional market for kosher goods produced in Poland.

Once again, it is the secular left that wants to forbid a fundamental aspect of Jewish religious observance. That was the case when the Dutch parliament tried to ban kosher slaughter in 2011, and again when a German court tried to ban circumcision in 2012. In both cases, the Catholic bishops of Holland and Germany respectively supported Jewish religious freedom. How long will it take American Jews to understand that the secular left are our worst enemies, and the Catholic Church is our best friend? In several posts on this site last year, I deplored the failure of the major American Jewish organizations (with the notable exception of Agudath Israel, the Haredi umbrella group) to oppose the Obama administration’s persecution of the Catholic Church, by forcing Church institutions to offer abortifacient drugs as well as birth control, contrary to Catholic religious doctrine. The Catholic Church is now the canary in the coal mine. If the religious freedom of the largest Christian denomination in the US is impaired, we Jews will be next.

Jews have long memories. Yesterday, observant Jews fasted on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, and chanted liturgical poems mourning the mass murder of Rhineland Jews by marauding Crusaders in 1096. We do not need to forget past injuries by Christians in order to understand that we are now in the same foxhole with our Christian friends on the fundamental issue of religious freedom. It is not only shameful but self-damaging for Jews to turn their backs on the Church as it battles the worst assault on religious freedom in American history. Before World War II, the European right-wing parties tended to be anti-Semitic (and right-wing American isolationism was generally anti-Semitic as well). Things have changed. Militant secularism is now the greatest danger to freedom of religious observance.

Two postscripts for non-Jewish readers are in order.

First: Observance of dietary laws is so fundamental to Jewish practice that the greatest Modern Orthodox sage of the 20th century, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, emphasized that it is more important than prayer: Dietary laws were given to us at Mount Sinai, while the thrice-daily prayer services were instituted by the rabbis of antiquity after the fall of the Temple. Judaism brings eternity into everyday life, and the holiness of the body (through the dietary laws and the laws of family purity) are both a sine qua non of Jewish observance. To ban kosher slaughter is to ban the practice of Judaism.

Second: As I wrote in June 2011 (in Asia Times and the Dutch daily De Volksrant), the allegation that kosher slaughter is cruel to animals is a vicious lie.

Evidence is overwhelming that kosher slaughter is just as humane as any modern method of killing animals, and more humane as a matter of practice. The standard method in today’s slaughterhouses – shooting a bolt into the animal’s forehead – has a high failure rate, and animals frequently are shot several times before losing consciousness.

Temple Grandin, America’s foremost expert on humane treatment of cattle, published the definitive study on the subject in the May 2006 issue of the journal Anthropology of Food. Professor Grandin was the subject of an eponymous 2010 feature film.

Observing the slaughter of animals by a trained Jewish specialist, she reported: “I was relieved and surprised to discover that the animals don’t even feel the super-sharp place as it touches their skin. They made no attempt to pull away. I felt peaceful and calm.” More skill is required for humane slaughter without stunning, Grandin observes, but Jewish religious law requires special implements and a very high level of skill. Muslim halalslaughter, according to Grandin, has no such safeguards.

The Polish leftists who rejected the Polish government’s well-intended efforts to project Jewish religious freedom did so not because they care about animals (Poland allows hunting, and no-one has proposed to ban that), but because they hate religion in general and Jews in particular.

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All Comments   (14)
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"Jews have long memories. Yesterday, observant Jews fasted on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, and chanted liturgical poems mourning the mass murder of Rhineland Jews by marauding Crusaders in 1096. We do not need to forget past injuries by Christians in order to understand that we are now in the same foxhole with our Christian friends on the fundamental issue of religious freedom."

Most people are historically literate enough to know that Christians didn't destroy the Temple. But not everyone, even among those who read this piece will know it.

For the record, since the above statement might be misleading for some, the Romans destroyed the Temple. The PAGAN, ANCIENT ones, not the Roman Catholics.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
slaughtering, that's what the Jews have in common with other religions of the bible and koran

I'am for respecting annimals, they also are a God representation of life on earth, none has the right to make them suffer for justifyng their religious dogmas

Thz Indians had it right, they apologized to the annimals that they killed for feeding their family

you, humans will not be eternal o the planet, especially with your productiveness that eliminate the weakests, mind, you're the next on the list, tthere will not be enough faune for your sophisticated religious dogmas

and you know, justice will be the rule then, bunch of malfaisants !
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I gave up trying to persuade people even in the Commentary combox that the Left is the principle locus of antisemitism in our time. The religion of most American Jews is liberalism, whose sole sign of election is the possession of an imagined moral high ground, secured by the politically correct identification of approved victims and their oppressors. Since Jews --as they once could-- can no longer get credit from the Left for standing by an embattled Israel, their only hope for validation as a people depends upon invoking historical events that daily sink into an otherwise forgotten past. I mean, The Tablet had a new article last week on the Dreyfus affair. By all means, let us remember history. But let it be an exercise in prudence, not the handmaid of denial.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...one of Palikot’s leaders, Andrzej Rozenek, sounded like a traditional anti-Semite when he declared that “there is no permission for animal cruelty in the name of money”–the implication being that what really worries Jewish defenders of shechita is the loss of a $400 million dollar regional market for kosher goods produced in Poland."

"Hate confuses the proper protocols" as RaShI says concerning Bil'am saddling his own donkey (instead of his servant boy doing it). Rozenek, in his zeal to stick it to those money-grubbing Jooos, has just lodged an attack against his own country's beef farmers. In order for Rozenek and his fellow travelers to win this pyrrhic battle against evil those farmers stand to lose a huge amount of business. Apparently the left does not like agriculture. Or they consider that particular industry a necessary broken egg in the course of making the progressivist utopian omelet.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kosher slaughtering is so important that it is one of four Jewish laws that was explicitly kept in place for Christians (in the book of Acts, chapter 15, in a letter from the church in Jerusalem to the church in Antioch).
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
After we beat Leftism in the United States, we can use our army to (again) liberate EUrope from Socialism. Until then, a Kennan-like policy of containment must suffice.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Forgot Judaism and Roman Catholicism! Join PJMedia's own Charlie Martin and become a fat, happy Buddhist. He's written several proselytizing articles on Buddhism right here on "conservative" PJMedia! He's even defended the actions of the Japanese Zen schools in promoting and defending the Imperial War machine in World War II! I guess Buddhist support for the Japanese Empire trumps American Judeo-Christian ideals on PJMedia.

With guys like Martin blogging over in the PJMedia Lifestyle section, it's hard to take the PJMedia bloggers as committed American conservatives.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
As with most anti-Semitic slanders, this idea that kosher slaughter is a form of cruelty to animals seems the opposite of the truth. I am a simple Catholic with only a very basic knowledge of Judaism, but it seems reasonable to me that God gave the Jewish people the laws governing kosher slaughter in part to teach them and the rest of the world (who can observe their conduct from a distance) the importance of treating animals in a humane and respectful manner. In the ancient world, I can imagine no more humane way to slaughter an animal for food than the kosher way. Even today, there is probably no more humane means of animal slaughter. Indeed, the ancient world was filled with cruel pagan cults that tortured animals (and people) to death in various ways in sacrifice to their gods. So the Jews were in fact the world pioneers of humane treatment of animals and opposition to animal cruelty, much as they pioneered opposition to infanticide. They stood head and shoulders above the rest. They were a light in the darkness, and still are.
As Joseph Goebbels famously observed, the biggest lies are the most effective. Because the Jewish people are God's chosen people, the lies about them must be very big to be effective. So to history's long list of big anti-Semitic lies so large as to be almost laughable (e.g. "The Jews control all the money in the world," or "The Jews control world Communism") we can now add, "Judaism teaches cruelty to animals."
This whole "Judaism is animal cruelty" movement strikes me as little more than a modern pagan animal worship nature cult. Judaism today is a light against such darkness as it was in ancient times.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The justification of banning kosher slaughter due to humane treatment of animals is nothing but a red herring. If these groups were concerned about the welfare of animals, they would try to ban or increase regulation on the modern factory farm with its massive overcrowding and limited movement of animals. There are good documentaries on Netflix and videos on YouTube if you would like to see the conditions. It is almost enough to make one a vegan.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've seen enough nature shows where a cheetah takes down an antelope (many differing variations.) Nature can be cruel at times.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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