So Belgium just decided to ban Muslims and Jews from slaughtering animals according to their religious rituals. This comes only a few years after the House of Parliament voted to ban Muslim women from wearing the face-veil.

It is estimated that 1 out of 4 people in Brussels are Muslim. The total percentage of Muslims in the country is under 10 %. (It is estimated that Jews are less than 0.01 % of that country.)

Such legislation is merely another symptom of the internal fear, and even hatred, that many Europeans have of Islam. It is an attempt to make ‘the other’ (in this case, the Muslim) feel marginalized and uncomfortable. It is a chest-thumping demonstration of who is in charge, and who gets to make the rules, and who has to follow those rules.

With such large percentages of Muslims across Europe, it is simply not wise for these simmering tensions to be intentionally provoked. It is not a coincidence that, on the one hand, Muslims in Belgium suffer from some of the worst effects of Islamophobia in Europe (from educational opportunies, to the difficulty in obtaining jobs, to physical harrasment, and now, to a ban on halal meat), and on the other hand, Belgium has the highest number of fighters who join ISIS (as a percentage of population).

While one does not justify the other, it is obvious that where Muslims are being made to feel like ‘the other’, some amongst them actually become ‘the other’. Leaders on both sides need to work to form better relations, otherwise it appears we would not have learned from the lessons of Serbia and Bosnia barely two decades ago.

It is sad that this ban has been enacted – I hope that the Muslim and Jewish communities can work together to overturn this ban.

Belgium just banned kosher and halal slaughter in its biggest territory

Belgium’s Wallooon region has voted to ban kosher and halal meats by outlawing the slaughter of unstunned animals. The environment committee of southern Belgium’s Walloon Parliament voted unanimously for the ban, which will take effect on 1 September, 2019.

“The challenges of the future are rooted in the reality of the present, the issues of justice, and not the myths of the past.”

I know many American Jews who have struggled with this. The occupation can no longer be ignored. No propaganda can blind the world forever. This brutality cannot be masked. You can’t be selective in fighting discrimination.

“Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” – Nelson Mandela

How I Lost My Zionism

I imbibed Zionism at a very early age. My parents had wanted to go on aliyah as soon as they got married (four years before I was born), but my grandmother’s sudden illness kept them in the United States. I often heard the story of my parents’ families sitting around the radio listening to the 1947…