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A Looming Threat? A Survey of Anti-Shechita Agitation in Contemporary Britain
Following the comprehensive defeat of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the 2019 General Election, many British Jews felt relieved that an “existential threat” had been vanquished. Subsequently, however, a different cloud has come on to the horizon: namely, the possibility of a ban on shechita—kosher slaughter—in the United Kingdom. This article argues that the legal status of shechita in Britain is more vulnerable than previously; and that a ban would have an antisemitic effect, regardless of the intention. The article examines the discourse employed by groups agitating for a ban (primarily animal welfare groups, secularists, and the hard right) and the flow of ideas between them. It does not assume that opponents of shechita are motivated by antisemitism but argues that antisemitism is nonetheless a characteristic of anti-shechita agitation as a whole. The article concludes by assessing the likelihood of a ban being implemented in post-Brexit Britain.
shechita; kosher meat; non-stun slaughter; animal welfare; secularism; hard right; Brexit; George Eustice; antisemitism
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