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February 4, 2015 3:02 pm

British Anti-EU Party Roiled Over Opposition to Kosher Slaughter, Parliamentary Candidate Threatens to Resign

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Jeremy Zeid (center) has threatened to resign from UKIP over its stance against ritual slaughter. Photo: Twitter

A British parliamentary candidate has threatened to resign from from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) over its support for a ban on slaughtering animals without pre-stunning, which would mean the outlawing of Jewish and Muslim methods of preparing meat fit for kosher and halal consumption.

Jeremy Zeid, a Jewish UKIP supporter who is standing for the party in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Hendon, north-west London, described the announcement as a “monumental mistake,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.

“If it’s not reversed, if they insist, if they enforce pre-stunning, I would have to leave. If there was a ban on shechita and brit milah (the circumcision of 8 day old male Jewish infants,) I would resign immediately,” Zeid said. “I support shechita, it is moral and probably the most ethical method of slaughter. If I don’t stand up for fellow Jews, who else is going to?”

Zeid claimed that the policy, which is supported by a number of bodies, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA,) had been pushed by an unnamed UKIP member who did not consult with the party’s leadership. He added that a u-turn was imminent: “I think UKIP will come out and say there is no ban on shechita – they have to.”

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However, Zeid also drew a distinction between kosher and halal slaughter. “We need to find a way to detach kosher from halal meat – they’re not the same,” he said. “Shechita is very quick, it’s the most humane method. The animals don’t see the knives, they’re very calm, it’s all over in two to three seconds.”

UKIP, which campaigns for British withdrawal from the EU and the prevention of further immigration into the UK, has rapidly established itself as political force in the country, after it won more votes than the Conservative and Labour parties in the 2014 European elections. The Jewish leadership in the UK remains suspicious of UKIP, having heavily criticized party leader Nigel Farage for allowing a far right Polish party with a history of Holocaust denial to join his grouping in the European parliament last October.

In parallel with the rise in antisemitism in Europe, there has also been a marked trend against Jews and Muslims carrying out ritual slaughter and circumcision in several countries, including Poland, Norway, Germany and The Netherlands. Support for measures to restrict religious freedom in these areas has been particularly strong among populist parties on both left and right.

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