German Jewish far-right group says could support ban of kosher slaughter

The Jewish lobby within the German far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party says it is willing to support a ban of kosher slaughter, saying such a move would be politically beneficial for the controversial party.

“Kosher slaughter according to strict Jewish laws is in no way more painful for the animal as slaughter according to usually practiced methods,” the fringe group says in a statement. “Enabling kosher slaughter is important for Jews, but not essential for survival. Therefore we are willing to compromise, especially because a complete prohibition of shechita [kosher slaughter] would most likely gain the AfD many votes.”

However, the group — called Juden in der AfD — would only agree to a ban if the government would refrain from restricting the import of kosher meat, the statement says.

The group, which is rejected by virtually all mainstream Jewish organizations in Germany, also says that circumcision is “non-negotiable,” as it is “indispensable for Jewish life in Germany” and contains no medical risks for newborns.

The statement, issued yesterday, follows a discussion about religion and state issues last month within the party in Berlin.

The discussion was held in “a very friendly atmosphere,” the Jewish group’s statement says, but acknowledges that the party may not adopt its positions in full.

The AfD, a party boycotted by Germany’s mainstream Jewish organizations as well as the State of Israel due to its xenophobic platform, has so far not formulated a clear position on ritual slaughter and circumcision.

Its Jewish lobby was founded in October mostly by immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

— Raphael Ahren