While campaigning at a meat market near Paris, Marine Le Pen, the right-wing candidate in the ongoing French presidential elections, announced that, if elected, she would ban ritual slaughtering of animals. This announcement caused even more concern about the presidential candidate, whose anti-Muslim platform will also harm Jews.
“Slaughter without stunning, I’m sorry, it should have special labels,” Le Pen said. “Furthermore, I think that slaughter without stunning should be prohibited.”
Le Pen is running on an anti-immigration platform, which is increasingly popular in a terror-stricken France. This new measure is intended to target Halal slaughtering for religious Muslims but like many of the anti-Muslim measures Le Pen advocates, this will also harm Jews. The laws of halal and kosher slaughtering are similar, both requiring the animal to be fully conscious before being slaughtered.
Ritual slaughter is prohibited in several European countries, ostensibly for reasons of animal cruelty. This type of ban has historically been used as an anti-Semitic subterfuge, most notably in pre-war Germany and Poland.
This call for a moratorium on ritual slaughtering is consistent with Le Pen’s strong anti-Muslim platform. She has called for a shutdown of immigration from Muslim countries, a ban on public prayer, and a ban on the wearing of Muslim religious symbols.
Citing a need for equality, she has also advocated anti-Jewish measures, calling for a ban on wearing a kippah (Jewish head covering) in public. She explained this in an interview on Channel 2 News last month.
“Honestly, the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid,” Le Pen said. “But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘There, we are sacrificing something.’”
In February, she stated that she would she would ban dual citizenship with non-European Union member states, effectively making it illegal for French Jews to hold Israeli passports.
French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia accused Le Pen of “fomenting hatred and war between the government and religions, as well as inter-religious animosity”.
“It undermines the foundations on which France was built,” he said in a statement.
Le Pen’s party has struggled with claims of anti-Semitism since its foundation under Marine’s father, Jean Marie, who was accused of minimizing the severity of the Holocaust and borderline anti-Semitism.
Le Pen’s National Front party won second place in the first round of elections last Sunday, receiving 21.5 percent of the vote. This is the best showing the party has had in a national election. The final election, between Le Pen and centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron, will be on May 7.