There’s nothing new about the moves in European countries to limit religious freedom by banning ritual slaughter. We’ve covered it before, and unfortunately, the story continues. Under the guise of animal rights activism, Europe is allowing pure xenophobia to flourish. The latest iteration says banning ritual slaughter is not enough, now we must ban the import of meat that is ritually slaughtered. The country in question is Switzerland, where shechitah has been illegal since the passing in 1893 of a popular referendum based on pure anti-Semitism because the locals didn’t like Eastern European immigration. So now, all kosher and halal meat is imported.
Fast forward a century-plus and it seems there’s still no love lost, although much of the xenophobia is now pointed to Muslims, who also have their own set of ritual slaughter laws. Earlier this summer, a new proposal was put before Parliament by the Socialist politician, Matthias Aebischer, that would ban even the import of such meat.
Let’s play this out: this law passes, and all kosher and halal food is banned from import. This means Jews and Muslims are forced to abstain from meat. No brisket on Rosh Hashanah, no lamb on Eid. Will Jews and Muslims play along? Likely an unregulated black market for kosher and halal meat will develop (certainly not good for animal protection) and, over time, Jews and Muslims will accept the “not welcome” message and opt to leave. Perhaps that’s the ultimate goal: Get rid of all those different people who were never really “Swiss” anyway (substitute Belgian or any other country where such proposals are being discussed). Let’s be honest. A lot of people feel that way.
So mission accomplished, Muslims and Jews gone. Uniformity and conformity secure. Ethnic cleansing complete. (Hunting of animals, nonsensically, still firmly in place.) Will the country then start to realize what it has lost by orchestrating the removal of ethnic and cultural minorities from its midst?
One is reminded of Germany, which once upon a time was the fertile breeding ground for literature, arts, science, philosophy, the list goes on — and Jews were no small part of any of that. Then Jews and Jewish life became illegal, were persecuted and ultimately destroyed. Well, where is Germany now? Sure, it’s one of the world’s leading economies. But when it comes to those above mentioned disciplines — science, arts, philosophy — Germany is no more. When it choose to destroy its Jews, it destroyed its culture.
Sometimes long-term consequences of government action aren’t immediately clear. What will Switzerland lose, when its Muslims and Jews no longer feel welcome?