When I posted last Friday about Geert Wilders’ support for a ban on ritual slaughter, I knew it would cause an argument. There are certain hot-button issues in our line of work, and this is one of them.
Before I go any further: This post is not about the merits or demerits of kosher slaughter. Commenters discussed that aspect of the case in the earlier thread, but this essay is solely about the meta-issue. If you want to argue about whether kosher slaughter is good or bad, humane or inhumane, do it somewhere else.
Today’s discussion focuses solely on whether opposition to ritual slaughter is inherently anti-Semitic.
To refresh your memory: Geert Wilders, the politician who leads the PVV, is on record in support of a ban on kosher and halal slaughter in the Netherlands. Some Jewish groups have taken Mr. Wilders’ stance as an expression of anti-Semitism. Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, an Austrian-born Israeli writer, was quoted by Reuters as saying this:
“Are you going to support a guy [Geert Wilders] who is at forefront of the anti-Semitism movement in Europe?,” he said.
This is what Dr. Gerstenfeld told TT (my emphasis):
The journalist of Reuters promised me that before publishing he would send me the text of my quote. He later apologized that this was not possible because of time pressure.
I have informed him that the quote was not correct and should have read:
“are you going to support a guy who is at the forefront of the anti-Semitism movement in Europe on one major issue?”
I agree that this addition makes an important distinction. And I can sympathize with someone who has been misrepresented by the perfidious mainstream media.
Unfortunately, the same problem still exists, albeit in a reduced fashion.
To associate Geert Wilders, even partially, with “the anti-Semitism movement in Europe” is to do him a grave disservice. Mr. Wilders has expended immense political capital through his support of Israel. Given the political climate in Europe — which stacks the deck against Jews — his position affords him no measurable advantage, and may even have cost him votes.
Therefore we may be certain that Mr. Wilders supports Israel as a matter of principle, rather than as a cynical political ploy. To frame his stance as having anything to do with “anti-Semitism” is unjust and unwarranted.
It’s possible to be opposed to ritual slaughter without being anti-Semitic. Many of the leaders of the animal rights movement who oppose ritual slaughter are Jewish — are they also anti-Semitic?
To cry “anti-Semite” in such circumstances is to debase the currency of the term. The real anti-Semites are the robed and bearded zealots who stalk, harass, and beat up Jews in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Berlin, and Malmö. Why waste time and energy going after a proven ally of Israel, when the deadly enemies of the Jews continue to rampage with impunity across much of Western Europe?
This is madness.
On being misrepresented by the MSM
Dr. Gerstenfeld deserves our sympathy for being misquoted by Reuters.
This is par for the course. Over the past few years I have seen the same thing done with wearisome regularity to Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Fjordman, Tommy Robinson, and numerous others who have had the misfortune of brushing up against the agents of the leftist media smear machine.
For that reason Dymphna and I declined to respond to any reporters or editors who attempted to contact us during the Breivik madness last year. There was no percentage in talking to them — no matter what you say, they can always slant it, distort it, quote it selectively, and spin your words to make you look like a despicable evil ideologue.
So who needs it? Let them talk to each other.