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Friday, December 06, 2002

Old Hatreds

There is no other way to describe the countries in Europe either with or seeking to enact bans on kosher food production (Via Lileks). The article is as much about resurgent anti-semitism in Europe.

at least five countries have banned kosher food production, and one of them is considering halting all import of kosher meat.

The latest nation to join the movement is Holland, where the move was guised in concern for cruelty to animals.

"They simply don't want foreigners and they don't want Jews," said Rabbi Michael Melchior, former chief rabbi of Norway, another European nation that bans kosher meat production. "I won't say this is the only motivation, but it's certainly no coincidence that one of the first things Nazi Germany forbade was kosher slaughter. I also know that during the original debate on this issue in Norway, where shechitah has been banned since 1930, one of the parliamentarians said straight out, 'If they don't like it, let them go live somewhere else.'"

While animal-rights activists have indeed been at the forefront of the recent efforts to ban kosher slaughter, there is growing concern on the part of people like Melchior, now an Israeli official, that initiatives spreading through Europe are gaining popularity because of deep-seated anti-Semitism manifesting itself in many other ways, from Belgium to Germany to France and Switzerland.

Animal rights activists? Here's the how Kosher Slaughter works:

Kosher Slaughter (Shechitah)

This is where additional costs come in. The slaughter is performed by a "shochet"
(a man of skill, piety and expertise). Make sure that:

1. Neck area is clean
2. Severing of the trachea and esophagus
3. Cut is within the proper area
4. No hesitation
5. No pressing
6. No tearing

How exactly is that worse than any regular slaughter of animals for meat? Do they feel there is some psychological torture involved beforehand?

The problem with the article is that it uses the kosher meat issue to veer off into a story on European anti-semitism, so it never actually lists the countries banning kosher meat production or when it was enacted - despite saying at least 5 countries did. In the article, only these countries are identified.


It's disturbing to learn how long some of these bans have been in effect and how thinly veiled other attempts have been:

When there was an effort by Jews in Switzerland to lift the century-old ban on the production of kosher meat, an anti-Semitic backlash erupted earlier this year.

"This is a trend that is very much worrying us," said Beker. He points out that a movement in Sweden, another European nation that bans kosher slaughter, attempted to ban ritual circumcision – the quintessential rite of passage for Jewish males. "We regard this as interference in Jewish religious practices."

A century old ban? Banning only ritual circumcision? Can't understand how those people could see such actions as being targeted at Jews?

Alumni Pride

Why would a Pittsburgh sports columnist be writing about a former Dallas Cowboy? Because Mark Stepnoski is also a former Pitt Panther. Mark has just given up any chance of ever being involved in the NFL or college football by doing this:

Why else would he risk smearing his good name and limiting his future earnings by becoming an officer, activist and high-profile spokesman for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws?

"I've been reading about this issue for years," Stepnoski said from his home in Dallas this week. "I firmly believe in their cause."

Anyone who knows Stepnoski can't possibly be surprised. He was one of the brightest athletes to play at Pitt, a two-time Academic All-American in the late-1980s. He's also never been afraid to go after what he wants. For 13 years with the Dallas Cowboys and Houston/Tennessee Oilers, until his retirement in January, he did it in the NFL as an overachieving, 265-pound offensive lineman who made five Pro Bowls and the All-Decade team of the 1990s. Now, he's doing it by leading the fight to decriminalize and, ultimately, legalize the use of marijuana.

Not your typical leftist, Woody Harrelson-esque celebrity figure this time.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Not Dead Yet

Sorry, but with Thanksgiving without the internet connection, followed by a five month-old that is teething and has a mild case of diarrhea, well it's been hard to even touch the keyboard.


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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