There’s no Jewish Life Without Freedom of Religion

17 December 2020

EUJS is shocked and alarmed by the European Court of Justice ruling to allow for the outlawing of ritual slaughter.

“Making it possible to outlaw Kosher slaughter could make Jewish life in Europe as we know it impossible long term”, says European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) President Bini Guttmann.

This morning, the Court of Justice of the European Union responded to the question for a preliminary ruling as to whether Flanders and Wallonia (and, by extension, other European authorities) may make the EU-law based religious slaughter exception meaningless by allowing the requirement of stunning before the religious slaughter of animals for meat. The Belgian Federation of Jewish Organisations (CCOJB) argued that such blunt prohibition was incompatible with EU law.

“Freedom of Religion should be one of the EU’s core values. The ECJ’s decision stands squarely against that. Kosher slaughter is a key component of Judaism, making it possible to prohibit the practice is a clear signal that the fundamental rights of Jews can be curtailed in the EU.” continued Guttmann.

Even the Advocate General (AG) to the EU Court of Justice Gerard Hogan was shocked by the decision, saying it was against the rights of religious minorities in the opinion he submitted to the court.

The decision obviously is not only a fundamental attack on Jewish religious practice, but also makes it possible to ban Muslim ritual slaughter.

“The ECJ’s decision also once again demonstrates how important it is for minorities to stand in solidarity with each other. We know, that discriminatory laws meant to target other groups will also always have an effect on us Jews,” said Guttmann in conclusion.

EUJS calls on the European Court of Justice to reverse its dangerous decision, and on the EU to safeguard religious freedom once and for all. We will also continue to support the Belgian Federation of Jewish Communities (CCOJB) and the Belgian Union of Jewish Students (UEJB) in the pursuit of all possible legal challenges.