Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry

Recent Developments

Constitutional court rules in favor of an EJA-led petition against the ban implemented in November 2013; EJA director: This is important day for all European Jews.

10 December 2014

"Poland’s constitutional court on Wednesday allowed the resumption of kosher slaughter in the country, ruling in favor of a petition to overturn a ban imple-mented last year. â€œJewish communities all over Europe can sigh in relief,” said a statement by the European Jewish Association (EJA), which led the drive to reallow kosher slaughter in Poland. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of EJA, applauded the court for overturning the prohibition of kosher slaughter and voting in favor of the petition. “This is a very important day, not only for the Jewish community in Poland but for all European Jews. We were able to prevent a dangerous pre-cedent that would have affected all European Jewry,” said Margolin, adding that this IS not the first time that anti-Jewish laws had presented themselves in Europe. “In the last few years, the European Jewish community has been under attack by a series of anti-Jewish laws, that if passed would hurt the ability of many Jews who wish to lead a Jewish life,” he said.
Margolin spearheaded a long struggle to overturn the law passed in November 2013, but would have only been implemented in 2015. He had also appealed to Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz to overturn the law after she took office in September. Margolin argued that the Jewish practice of “shechita” is “the most humane method of slaughter” as it ensures the welfare of the animal not only at the time of slaughter, but also concerns itself with “the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter.” The EJA had previously campaigned against legislation to restrict the practice of ritual slaughter in Denmark. Following Margolin’s meetings with members of the European Commission, including Commissioner for Health Tonio Borg, the Commission promised to seek clarification on any legislation that calls for restrictions on the practice of religious slaughter."
© Ynet News. http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3083,00.html


Polish prosecutor: 'Jews to Auschwitz’ chant not anti-Semitic

Chants were directed at opposing team, not Jews, says judge.

By Roman Frister | 22:22 13.01.14

"WARSAW – A municipal prosecutor in the Polish city of Poznan has concluded that chants by soccer fans that made reference to Jews going to the gas chambers were not anti-Semitic, and therefore did not provide grounds for the filing of criminal charges."


Polish government to reinstate religious animal slaughter after court ban

December 07, 2012- â€œOne week after a Polish constitutional court banned the ritual slaughter of animals, Stanislaw Kalemba, the minister of agriculture, has announced a change in legislation to reinstate the practice, which is used by some of Poland’s religious communities.In a blow to animal rights activists, who thought they had won the battle against the ritual slaughter of animals with last week’s ruling, Kalemba, a member of the Polish Peasant’s Party (PSL), said that only one article in the act needs to be altered to make slaughtering animals in this way legal again. “This is the quickest way to change the law, as a [new] bill by the government would require protracted public consultation,” he told Polish news channel TVP. On November 28, Poland’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ritual slaughter of animals is unconstitutional. As such, it was meant to have been outlawed beginning with the new year. Animal rights groups had petitioned for Attorney General Andrzej Seremet to change the law because, they said, it contradicted a 1997 act on animal protection which stated that animals cannot be slaughtered without being stunned first. But Kalemba also pointed out that an EU law which comes into effect next year would have overridden the constitutional court’s ban in any case. “Arguments have been made that European law overrides national law, and that EU regulations can be applied directly,” he said. He also said that “it is necessary to respect the rights of religious groups, where ritual slaughter has been practiced for thousands of years.”Kalemba’s announcement will be welcomed by Poland’s small Muslim and Jewish communities. Poland has about 25,000 Muslims and 6,000 Jews. It is also good news for Poland’s export industry. Poland has 29 slaughterhouses which practice ritual slaughter, employing 4,000 people. The industry is worth $259 million in exports.”

Available at: http://rt.com/news/ritual-slaughter-law-poland-558/