Austrian Far-right Lawmaker Proposes Jews 'Register' If They Want to Buy Kosher Meat
A politician in Austria is facing accusations of anti-Semitism after revealing a plan to force Jewish residents to apply for permits to buy kosher meat.
According to Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung, the law was drafted by Gottfried WaldhÃ¤usl, a state cabinet minister overseeing animal welfare in Lower Austria, one of the countryâs nine states.
WaldhÃ¤usl claimed that the law made sense âfrom an animal welfare point of view,â but the proposed legislation has drawn criticism from Jewish groups. Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Jewish Community in Vienna, said the law would require a list of Jewish people to be drawn up, which he described as âlike a negative Aryan clauseââ"a reference to anti-Semitic laws passed after Austria became part of Nazi Germany in 1938.
In this file photo, a kosher inspector examines display refrigerators containing meat in a food store in Bat Yam, Israel, on October 31, 2016.Recommended Slideshows76The Most Powerful Military Forces in the World59The 25 Most Powerful Passports in the World61Every World Press Photo Winner Ever: 60 Images That Define Our World
The controversy has gone global, with the American Jewish Committeeâs Berlin office tweeting: âSoon with a star on the chest?â The account went on to call the proposal âan attack on Jewish and Muslim life.â
WaldhÃ¤usl belongs to the far-right populist Freedom Party (FPÃ), which governs in coalition with the conservative People's Party (ÃVP), led by 31-year-old Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Founded in the 1950s by former Nazi SS soldiers, the FPÃ rose to prominence in the 2017 parliamentary election, becoming the third biggest party. A standard-bearer for resurgent right-wing politics in Europe, the party is staunchly anti-immigration and has led calls for tighter border controls.
The FPÃ has regularly faced accusations of anti-Jewish and Islamophobic prejudice. Though its leaders insist that anti-Semites are not welcome in the partyâs ranks, numerous members have battled racism scandals.
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Klaus Schneeberger, the regional leader of the ruling ÃVP, said the plan will never become law. He assured the countryâs ORF broadcaster: âOf cour se, nobody will have to register to buy kosher meat. There will be no such thing.â The state is governed by the ÃVPâs Johanna Mikl-Leitner, and seven of its nine cabinet members are also part members.
Demonstrators opposing the far-right Freedom Party march in front of the Chancellery in Vienna, Austria, on October 15, 2017. The partyâ"founded by former Nazi soldiersâ"is the junior partner in the country's ruling coalition.
Many of Austriaâs 8,000 Jews live in the small city-state of Vienna, which is surrounded by Lower Austria, which contains a large amount of farmland, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. âIn Lower Austria, we are not here to provide meat to the Viennese,â WaldhÃ¤usl said.
The Jewish and Muslim faiths dictate that animals slaughtered for consumption must be killed, while conscious, by cutting their throats. For Jews, this makes the meat kosher, and for Muslims, halal. Opponents to these traditional methods say the approach is cruel and unnecessary. But supporters claim it is designed to be painless and cannot be effectively mechanized. It is not clear whether the draft law also applies to halal slaughter.
Anti-semitism is on the rise in Austria, according to recent survey results produced by the Forum Against Anti-Semitism. Last year, the number of registered cases of anti-semitism hit 505 nationwideâ"a new record. The FPÃâs rise to power stoked fears that anti-Jewish sentiment was becoming normalized in the country.
Its leaders say it is moving away from its Nazi past, but not everyone is buying it. In February, Deutsch said, âYou canât go âclickâ and say âUntil now weâve been like this but now weâre not anti-Semitic anymore, now we have other interestsâ. That is not credible.âSource: Google News Austria | Netizen 24 Austria