Rabbi Blasts Dutch Leader Over Kosher Slaughter

Yona Metzger Writes to Geert Wilders About Planned Ban

By JTA

Published August 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi warned Dutch politician Geert Wilders that attempts to ban ritual slaughter will eventually force Jews to leave the Netherlands.

Rabbi Yona Metzger on Tuesday wrote a letter to Wilders saying he was “shocked and upset” to learn Wilders’ rightist Party for Freedom adopted a ban on ritual slaughter in its election platform. Metzger asked Wilders to drop the issue from the platform.

The Netherlands will hold general elections on Sept.12.

Last year, Wilders’ anti-Muslim party – the country’s third largest – and other parties passed a law to ban ritual slaughter, but the Dutch Senate scrapped it in June. Instead of the ban, the Senate ratified a compromise between religious freedoms and animal welfare considerations. The ban sought to outlaw slaughter of conscious animals, rendering the procedure non-kosher and non-halal.

“By denying Jews to live according to the Torah you will eventually force them to leave the Netherlands,” Metzger wrote in the letter, obtained by JTA.

Metzger “strongly urged” Wilders – a staunch advocate of Israel and of “Judeo-Christian values,” as Wilders defined it – to “publicly distance“ himself from a lawmaker from Wilders’ own party, which he founded in 2005.

Metzger wrote that he was “shocked” to hear statements by Dion Graus, the lawmaker who holds the animal welfare portfolio of the Party for Freedom. Graus “repeatedly kept on accusing Jews of ritual torture of animals,” Metzger wrote, adding this was “the classical anti-Semitic way our rites have been targeted and demonized.”

Metzger thanked Wilders for his support of Israel but 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.”

Earlier this month, the president of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam asked Wim Kortenoeven - another Dutch lawmaker - to warn his contacts in the United States of the perceived danger posed by Graus.

Kortenoeven left the Party for Freedom in July after a dispute with Wilders over ritual slaughter, among other matters. Kortenoeven – who has 20 years of experience lobbying for Israel – was the only lawmaker from Wilders’ party who voted against the ban.

In the letter, Metzger wrote that the Party for Freedom was the only large party that voted for a ban in the Dutch Senate. In reality, senators from five parties, including the Socialist Party, voted for the ban.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.