Kosher ritual slaughter Manfred Gerstenfeld Netherlands Wilders



This was published today at YNET and republished here with the author’s consent.


Manfred Gerstenfeld

Last week, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger wrote a letter to Geert Wilders, the pro-Israel leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). The party’s platform for the upcoming parliamentary elections on 12 September includes the prohibition of ritual slaughter.1 Its parliamentarian Dion Graus also intends to continue his failed past efforts to forbid the import of ritually slaughtered meat.2

Rabbi Metzger wrote that Graus has taken the classic anti-Semitic position of targeting Jewish rites as done over the centuries. He added: “One cannot be at the same time a friend of Israel and the Jewish people and on the other hand support an anti-Jewish law and be friends with Mr. Dion Graus.”3

Wilders, the only Dutch politician known internationally, has acquired a justified reputation for major support of Israel. He has said that Jihad is not only against Israel, but targets the entire Western world.4 The current PVV platform also states that Jordan is Palestine.5 Yet last year already, Wilders’ image in the Jewish world took a severe beating. On the prohibition of unstunned ritual slaughter, the PVV supported the extreme positions of the small populist Party for the Animals. In Parliament, Graus called ritual slaughter ‘ritual torture.’6 He furthermore turned the Jews into a political instrument by falsely claiming that his party was not anti-Islam because the ritual slaughter law would also hurt the Jews.7

In June 2012, a covenant on unstunned ritual slaughter was reached with difficulty between Muslims, Jews and the Dutch government.8 This led to tensions in the Dutch Orthodox Jewish community between rabbinical and lay leaders.9 Yet most Jews were glad that this major threat to Jewish identity seemed over.

Prohibiting ritual slaughter has not come up in current Dutch election debates. Yet in past weeks, this issue has drawn much media attention in the Netherlands, Israel and also among organized Jewry in the United States. The Amsterdam Orthodox community has declared that it considers Graus “a danger for the Jewish communities in the Netherlands and Europe.”10

Former PVV Parliamentarian Wim Kortenoeven has alerted major U.S Jewish organizations. He was the only one of his party to vote against the proposed anti-ritual slaughter law last year. He left the PVV in early July. Kortenoeven says that several of his colleagues supported his position, but caved in under pressure from Wilders.

The first American Jewish organization to challenge the PVV on the ritual slaughter issue already in 2011, was the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Now its Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper wrote again to Wilders requesting he drop the issue from PVV’s platform.11 In his answer, Wilders claimed that anti-Semites will not be tolerated in his party and that Graus was not one.12 Rabbi Cooper was not convinced and wrote a second letter which remains unanswered.13

This conflict made the front page of the largest Dutch daily de Telegraaf.14 The article also claimed that U.S Jews had been financing Wilders because of his pro-Israel positions and this was now at risk as the PVV was attacking one of the most fundamental rituals of the Jewish religion. Little proof was given to substantiate the Jewish financing. Far more important is that Wilders has been warmly received in major pro-Israel Evangelical Christian communities in the United States. This is unlikely to continue now..

Why would Wilders threaten important American relationships by insisting on a marginal issue such as prohibiting ritual slaughter? The most probable explanation is that this is one more indication of the populist way he often operates.

Wilders’ initial success derived from having identified two crucial issues for the future of The Netherlands neglected by others. He saw that far more threats against the future of democracies come out of the Islamic world than out of any other religion. Wilders also realized that the democracy-deficient European integration in some critical fields had dangerously run ahead unchecked. He translated these issues into populist campaign slogans which gave the PVV 24 out of 150 parliamentary seats in the 2010 election.

The PVV however, did not upgrade to a professional party as it should have. It still has no research organization. It rarely details any proposal in great depth. From time to time, Wilders tosses out extreme remarks which do not help his two major political aims. Though frequently warned, he has ignored the problems which his position on the ritual slaughter issue could cause, mainly among foreign supporters.

Had Wilders professionalized his political approach, there was a good chance he could win the upcoming elections. The problems due to uncontrolled European integration, as well as the violence in the Islamic world have aggravated further and are now exposed for everyone to see. The longer Wilders’ populist attitude continues on many other issues, the less valuable his pro-Israel positions will be for Israel. At the same time, the PVV being in the forefront of anti-Semitic proposals on a crucial issue for Jews, will not be overlooked.

Manfred Gerstenfeld is a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, of which he has been Chairman for twelve years.

1 Verkiezingsprogramma PVV 2012-2017, ‘Hun Brussel, Ons Nederland’. [Dutch]

2 Parliamentary debate Second Chamber, 13 April 2011. [Dutch]

3 Letter from Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger to mr. Geert Wilders, 28 August 2012.

4 David Horovitz, “Wilders hails Israel ‘fighting jihad”’, Jerusalem Post, 9 June 2010.

5 Verkiezingsprogramma PVV 2012-2017, ‘Hun Brussel, Ons Nederland’. [Dutch]

6 Parliamentary debate Second Chamber, 17 February 2011. [Dutch]

7 Ibid.

8 Convenant onbedwelmd slachten volgens religieuze riten, 5 June 2012. [Dutch]


 Maurice Swirc, ‘Eindelijk handtekening’, NIW, 8 June 2012. [Dutch]

10 “NIHS-bestuur: ‘PVV vormt bedreiging,’ NIW, 24 August 2012. [Dutch]

11 Letter from The Simon Wiesenthal Center to Geert Wilders, 15 August 2012.

12 E-mail from Geert Wilders to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, 17 August 2012.

13 Letter from The Simon Wiesenthal Center to Geert Wilders, 19 August 2012.

14 Charles Sanders, ‘Joodse sponsors razend op PVV’, Telegraaf, 21 augustus 2012. [Dutch]

22 Responses

  1. It’s good to see that Geert Wilders and the PVV are standing their ground and consistently opposing the torture of animals by ignorant religious savages, whatever religion those savages belong to.

  2. Defending Israel as a nation state for Jews does not require that Geert Wilders is obliged to destroy his own nation and its culture.

  3. The stand to take is clear: western liberal humanist values are supreme and retarded religions with barbaric customs and practices had better get in line. If the religious retards don’t like it they are free to get out and go somewhere else.

    Here is a good article on the subject from Gates of Vienna:

  4. Though I agree with Frank clough I deplore more the lack of oversight on the Wiesenthal Center side. The role of Wim Kortenoeven I found very disappointing and not honorable, not at all. Critique at Geert Wilders is Ok, but to make such noise over this issue? I dont’t get it.

    1. Who cares what religious nut jobs think. Wilders stand on animal torture shows that he has principles that he stands up for and that he is consistent in those principles.

          1. figured. If you reject individual sovereignty and personal property rights, and accept big government and it’s right to intrude intot he private affairs of the individual, you can look at these issues in the way that you do. I get that. It’s just that I reject it, as I do all government statism.

  5. What do you almost human beings know about animal slaughter? Better to grab a chicken by the legs and chop it’s head off? This has nothing to do with ritual slaughter and everthing to do with Dutch idiotic psychological hatred of the Jew. It’s a Dutch disease that’s typical of the Germanic/nordic people. When the nazi tanks rolled into Holland, before they even had time to refuel, 25,000 Dutchmen volunteered for the nazi army. They just couldn’t wait for the opportunity to kiss the German boots.

  6. To KGS:

    Do you really believe that people should be permitted to own whatever they want and do whatever pleases them without any government regulation?

      1. I’m inclined to John Stuart Mill’s philosophy, which can be condensed into: “everyone has the right to do as they please as long as they don’t infringe on anyone elses rights while doing it.”

        You seem rather fixated on something you call “property rights.” Do you think that individuals should be permitted to own sarin gas? plutonium? or do you “accept big government and it’s right to intrude into the private affairs of the individual” and think that “big government” should intrude and prevent people from owning those things?

        1. Frank, you need to first answer my question, what is the specific limitations of government, if any at all.

          Secondly, you’re correct. I am fixated on ‘property rights’ as you said, like a laser. Your individual liberty is dependent upon the protection of it.

          1. I’ve said what I consider the limits of government to be: To ensure that “everyone has the right to do as they please as long as they don’t infringe on anyone elses rights while doing it.”

            Now you can answer my question: Do you think that individuals should be permitted to own sarin gas? plutonium? or do you “accept big government and it’s right to intrude into the private affairs of the individual” and think that “big government” should intrude and prevent people from owning those things?

          2. Frank, you’re not answering the question. What is the limit of government, not the limit of the private citizen.

            You’re also throwing up a red herring, private citizens owning sarin gas and plutonium. No private citizen can provide and adequate reason for owning such materials, as well as ensuring that the owning of such materials could be safely maintained without effecting others. But the argument is bogus. There are state treaties on how such materials are kept and stored and who could use them.

            Again, what are the limits of government?

  7. You have not understood my answer. I said that the limits of government are to ensure that everyone has the right to do as they please as long as they don’t infringe on anyone elses rights while doing it. It is within that framework that government regulates citizens and how they interact.

    In some confused way you seem to agree with me. You say in regard to certain things that “no private citizen can provide an adequate reason for owning such materials.”

    To whom do you think that private citizens must provide adequate reasons? The government? Are you now saying the government can dictate to people what they are allowed to own? It’s not so long ago that you were complaining about “big government” interfering with “individual sovereignty and personal property rights” and now you’re saying that big government has that right. Please make your mind up.

    You then go on to talk about ensuring the safety of others. Who does that ensuring? The government? You talk of “state treaties on how such materials are kept and stored and who could use them.” You certainly seem to be a friend of big government regulating what people are allowed to own and how they must act in regard to that ownership. And yet you also say that you are not!

    Your position is far too confused, you’ll have to explain yourself better.

    1. Your answer does not answer the question. What is the limit of what the government can do?

      As for the sarin question, you pose extreme scenarios as proof that the individual has limits…..though you still refuse to say what are the limits of gov. Using red herring arguments do not suffice.

      1. I’ve told you my position. And you seemed to agree in your rather befuddled way. You say that the individual has limits regarding what he is allowed to own and what he is allowed to do with what he owns.

        Who do you think sets those limits? I shall tell you: the government!

        You are arguing for freedom from what you call “big government” regulating “property rights” while at the same time saying that the government has the right to regulate ownership of property. A very confused and contradictory position to say the least.

        You need to explain yourself better.

        1. Balogne. Once Agin you are piling your defense with over the top extreme scenarios to prove that the individual does not have unlimited rights, while failing to state what limits there are on the government.

          Property rights include literal land property, but it also means private wealth and earnings, the fruit of ones own labor. Having a say over ones own labor is fundamental to ensuring ones liberty, they are intertwined, hence the crucial necessity of basing the economy on free market capitalism. The limit of government is crucial to ensure the liberty of the individual.

          Government staying within the constitutional limits afforded it, ensures individual liberty…

  8. In answer to my question “Do you really believe that people should be permitted to own whatever they want and do whatever pleases them without any government regulation?” you answered “precisely.”

    Now you’re saying that “the individual does not have unlimited rights.” You’re the one who’s sowing confusion and contradiction. Do you believe that the government can regulate “property rights” or not. Please make your mind up.

    1. Ok Frank, now you’re being disingenuous. I said precisely in the context of asking you precisely what is the limit of government. I remember similar bouts like this in grade school. Consider this discussion closed.

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