The Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), an affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, has spoken out against the near unanimous vote passed Wednesday by the Flemish Parliament banning the slaughter of non-stunned animals, a move that effectively outlaws kosher ritual slaughter. The ruling comes one month after the same measure was passed by the parliament in Wallonia, the country’s French-speaking region.
CCOJB President Yohan Benizri, who is also a WJC vice president and a member of the WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps said in a statement: "Wallonia and Flanders are sending a negative political message to the citizens of our country because it is illogical, and these laws do not respect the principles of necessity, equality or proportionality, nor the European laws in this matter."
Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said following the vote: “The news that the Flanders region of Belgium has joined Wallonia in passing a legislation banning religious slaughter is a clear attack on religious practices and a worrying omen for the future of religious rites across Europe. We cannot tolerate bans on religious practices. Leaders across Europe must protest against the ban and work to protect our religious freedoms.”
Belgium is the latest in a string of countries to prohibit Jewish and Muslim ritual, following Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.