The European Jewish Association (EJA) has welcomed a statement by the Hungarian government which called the European Court of Justice’s ruling on ritual slaughter a ‘’disgrace’’.
“The ruling by the European Court of Justice upholding a ban on kosher ritual slaughter in Belgium is a disgrace to the religious freedom and security of the European Jewish community and is yet one more sign of the total collapse of our traditional Judeo-Christian value system,” said Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén.
“We welcome the strong and firm words of the Hungarian government on the Court of Justice decision. The Hungarian government has consistently shown action to match its words and has long sustained and supported Jewish life and practice,’’ said EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
“The same sadly cannot be said for many countries and institutions who profess freedom of religion, and who claim to be bastions of democracy, but legislate against Jewish life, tradition and practice. We hope and indeed pray that some of these same countries will change and adopt a similar attitude and approach to Jews and Judaism that Hungary has shown.”
In its ruling, the European Court said that two regions in Belgium – Flanders and Wallonia- did not violate EU law when they banned the production of meat from animals that were not stunned before they were killed, a method that is contrary to Jewish religious law. The ruling has been described by Jewish organisations as an ‘’attack on Jewish life in Europe.’’
The European Commission said Friday it has ‘’full understanding’’ of the concerns of the Jewish and Muslim communities while respecting the judgement of the Court.
‘’The Commission takes note of the ruling. Of course it respects the judgement of the European Court of Justice,’’ said a Commission spokesperson, in response to a question from European Jewish Press.
The spokesperson said that ”nothing can change our resolve to always ensure that everyone in Europe has the right to freedom of religion. We will always uphold this fundamental right.’’
He added that the European Commission ‘’remains as always open to discuss the concerns of the Jewish and Muslim communities with them.’’