New Zealand banned kosher meat, caving to Islamic antisemitism. For those unfamiliar with kosher practice, go here. Agriculture Minister David Carter has been exposed abusing his ministerial powers to protect the trade interests of his private investments.
"The prospect of a permanent ban on shechita, resulting in no more kosher meat in New Zealand is very real.
"New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to outlaw kosher slaughter since the Nazis enacted similar legislation in Europe over 70 years ago. New Zealand Jews may soon be the only Jews in the world who can no longer eat chicken. Your children or grandchildren may never experience a Passover with chicken soup and matzah balls, or ask the meaning of the lamb shank on your family’s Seder plate.
"Some kosher meat (but not chicken) may be able to be imported, for a limited period. It is likely however that if we lose the right to practise shechita, then the ability to import kosher meat will soon follow.
"The absence of kosher meat will mean we can’t engage Rabbis or Youth Leaders. It will mean our religious families will be forced to leave New Zealand. Few Jews will want to migrate here. We will be seen as a country where Jews are not welcome, and where our traditions and beliefs are not respected or valued. Our rich New Zealand Jewish history and culture, dating back over 170 years to the earliest days of New Zealand settlement, may soon become a distant memory.
"The leaders of the Jewish communities in New Zealand feel so strongly about this that they are going to Court to challenge the Government. From a legal perspective they have a good deal of confidence, but only in the Court can the issue be determined.
We need the support of every Jew in New Zealand. Whether you keep kosher, observe Shabbat, or not, we must stand together. Your religious, cultural and social future is under threat.
"What you can do to help?
"Make a donation: Everyone can help and for the continuity of your family, your friends and your community you must help. We want every household to donate $150. We want you to ask your friends and families if they have given yet. We need your help and we need to help each other.
"Please make your donation now to the following account: New Zealand Shechita Appeal, Account Number: 01-0297-0024731-27 (use your family name and initials as a reference), or post your cheque to the Wellington or Auckland shul offices (marked “Shechita Appeal”).
"Write a letter: You can write to the Minister of Agriculture (David Carter), the Prime Minister and your local MP. Please also encourage your friends to write. A short email in your own words is most effective. The Minister’s email address is email@example.com. The Prime Minister’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also copy in your local MP – a list of MPs is available on the Parliament website at http://www.parliament..nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs"
Agriculture Minister David Carter has been exposed abusing his ministerial powers to protect the trade interests of his private investments. Earlier this year, Carter banned Jewish religious slaughtering practices because of perceived risks to the meat trade with Muslim nations, after being briefed by companies he owns that take part in the trade. (more here)
Hat tip to New Zealand Atlas reader, Steve G. (who is not Jewish, BTW). He explained it this way:
For John Key, the chickens are coming home to roost
Earlier this year New Zealand enacted a total ban on kosher killing in New Zealand, the first ban of it’s kind in a democracy since 1930s Germany. New Zealand joined other countries with more limited bans such as Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Norway. Anyone with a good knowledge of 20th Century history will know they aren’t a grouping any self respecting democracy would want to be associated with.
The practical effect of all this is to make it difficult for religiously observant Jews to live in New Zealand. At the time I and others speculated that the real motivation behind it was an attempt to drive Jews out of N.Z. at the behest of Moslem countries.
This wasn’t just a guess on my part. In 1989 staff at the Israeli Embassy told me when I visited there that Israelis wanted to buy both kosher killed meat and livestock from New Zealand but even though there were New Zealand farmers keen to sell it to them the New Zealand government didn’t want to know. Although the “animal rights” excuse was offered to Israel, that didn’t explain the ban on live exports which N.Z. was happily conducting with various Arab countries.
Live exports from New Zealand were eventually banned due to poor shipboard conditions but also due to disturbing footage obtained by a T.V. documentary crew of Arabs abusing New Zealand animals after they’d been delivered.
(My grandfather was in the ANZAC mounted cavalry that fought in Sinai and Palestine in W.W.I and when they couldn’t take their horses back home they shot them to prevent the Arabs getting hold of them, as they’d seen how they treated their animals.)
Unlike New Zealand, Australia exports both kosher meat and live animals to Israel (including beef stock) AND to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and U.A.E.
(Another difference with Australia, during the Second World War New Zealand refused to accept any Jewish refugees due to antisemitic attitudes by officials here, whereas Australia took thousands. Perhaps this explains the cowed attitude of the small New Zealand community compared to the feisty Australian one.)
Well now it turns out that not only did the Minister involved in the banning have a financial interest in meat sales to Moslem countries, he broke the law to bring in the ban. (The case against the Crown was due to go to court this week but on Friday the Crown bailed out of the case and lifted the chicken ban.) AND Moslem lobbying was behind the move. And National Party Prime Minister John Key knew that.
Key is a liberal secular Jew (his mother was an Austrian Jew named Ruth Lazar) and declared agnostic, who nevertheless attends his wife's church (to please her I guess). He has based his political style on the now U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron: due to different election cycles Key ended up getting voted in first. Despite his church attendance Key has consistently stood against Judaeo-Christian values including legislating against them.
So his betrayal of his people for Arab money really didn’t surprise me too much.* Key did after all make his millions from some pretty morally dubious financial activities overseas. And he is pretty consistent in choosing pragmatic populism over principle. The Moslem countries have a lot more to offer moneywise than Israel.
(Also there is something of a pattern of a minority of the second generation after the Holocaust turning on their own people for personal gain.)
[* to be fair to Key he did let the Israeli Embassy back into the country — it had been expelled on a pretext by our former Labour Party P.M. Helen Clark, who is now ensconced in the U.N.]
Incidentally Key has followed Helen Clark in another way. Currently New Zealand is one of the few countries in the Western world without a significant Moslem population. In the waning days of her administration Clark stitched up deals to bring significant numbers of students to New Zealand from radical and immoderate countries such as Saudi Arabia. Key has continued this policy. His most recent deal a few weeks ago was to bring students from Libya.
(Even on the public broadcaster National Radio, one of the announcers couldn’t help adding sarcastically “Why would they want to?” after reading “and New Zealand students can go and study in Libya.”
What most New Zealanders are unaware of is that under our rules, completing a course of studies here gives students a foot in the door for immigration.
When Kiwis are as terrorised as the public in parts of Europe, and increasingly, even in North America and Australia, they’ll regret ever allowing the prayer to Allah to be uttered over their sheep.
(According Islamic religious tradition the same prayer is to be cried aloud whenever a Moslem jihadist or suicide bomber kills non-Moslems.)
A farming company part-owned by a Cabinet minister was able to give him a briefing about how the Government could protect its lucrative trade with Muslim countries by banning Jewish slaughtering.
Agriculture Minister David Carter supported the recommended law change but had to back down days before he was to be taken to court to justify it.
It is the second time this year Crown lawyers have had to leap to the defence of one of Parliament's wealthiest MPs - and this time in a case in which he was forced to admit getting basic facts wrong.
Carter was being sued by the Auckland Hebrew Congregation for changing the law in May to make traditional Jewish slaughter of animals illegal. The case was set to begin in the High Court at Wellington tomorrow - until an embarrassing backdown by Carter who on Friday overturned the ban he asked Cabinet to support.
The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed.
Documents obtained by the Herald on Sunday appear to show Carter broke the rules governing his portfolio by considering trade implications when making the original decision.
An allegation of conflict of interest has been made because of that - he holds shares in a company which exports meat and met with senior managers who wanted a ban on shechita to protect their interests.
Carter was pulled back into line after lawyers told him he was allowed to consider only animal welfare issues. He had been advised trade with Muslim countries might suffer if it emerged kosher meat was allowed to be produced here while restrictions were placed on halal slaughter.
New Zealand requires halal meat be stunned before slaughter while kosher meat - which is killed only for a small domestic market - does not have the same restriction.
After getting the advice, Carter's office seems to have broken the rules again by giving opinions on trade to Prime Minister John Key in January and Trade Minister Tim Groser in February.
Emails obtained by the Herald on Sunday show Carter met in March with Silver Fern Farms Ltd chairman Eoin Garden and chief executive Keith Cooper, who said meat exports would suffer if shechita wasn't banned.
The MPs Register of Pecuniary Interests shows Carter owns shares in Silver Fern Farms Ltd and another major meat exporter to Muslim countries, Alliance Group Ltd.
Ministerial private secretary Natalie Nesbitt emailed senior Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries officials: "Silverfern (sic) Farms CEO and chairman raised their opposition to an exemption being provided for shechita (kosher) slaughter ... with the minister this afternoon, among other matters."
She said concerns from Garden and Cooper included "trade risks (particularly to halal markets)" if a Jewish religious form of slaughter was allowed to continue in New Zealand.
Garden refused to detail the discussion when approached on Friday: "I don't think it is appropriate to comment on what was discussed at that meeting. I'll get legal direction on this."
Cooper initially said the concerns were in relation only to animal welfare, then later said "it was a long time ago" and he "doesn't recall any more detail".
Silver Fern Farms Ltd processes about 30 per cent of New Zealand's cattle market. With other stock, it exports more than $200 million of meat to the Middle East.
Carter owns three farms - a 1200ha cattle breeding property in Teddington, a fattening unit at Southbridge and shares in a property in Waiau.
Crown Law Office spokeswoman Jan Fulstow was unable to provide details of the cost of defending Carter over the shechita ban before press time.
It emerged in April that taxpayers paid $115,000 towards Carter's legal bills after a defamation scrap with former NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Fulstow contacted the Herald on Sunday on Friday to warn against printing material relating to the court case.
Fulstow said she was calling to warn about a confidentiality order at the urging of Carter's lawyer.
The call came within minutes of questions from the Herald on Sunday to Carter's ministerial office over Jewish community claims of a conflict of interest.
But much of the information used by the Herald on Sunday came through the Official Information Act, sought by Auckland's Jonathan Shenken, who became concerned his religious right to kosher meat would be threatened.
Shenken began and continued a decade-long research initiative which turned up concerns by MAF over the possible trade impacts of shechita - and eventually Carter's meeting with Silver Fern Farms Ltd. Other information included a High Court judgment released on Friday.
In the judgment, from Justice Alan Mackenzie, it was revealed that Carter had banned shechita slaughter of poultry, sheep and cows with the belief all could be imported from Australia.
But Carter's lack of knowledge was exposed in the judgment.
Judge Mackenzie reported that Carter had no idea it was not possible to import kosher chicken meat and that "his understanding was wrong".
His evidence also revealed he had no idea how much it could cost to import kosher meat - in the case of lamb, more than $120 a kilogram.
It was the judgment that also revealed Carter's office had repeatedly referred to shechita and trade after he had been told by lawyers he was not to do so.
According to the judgment, Carter's evidence said he did not know what was in the briefing papers sent from his office to Groser or Key that mentioned possible trade impacts from allowing shechita.
Carter did not respond to requests for an interview.
In a statement he said: "Claims that business interests determined my decision on the Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare are totally baseless. Animal welfare was the primary consideration in making this decision and I have said many times that animal welfare is a priority of mine."
Prime Minister John Key - who has Jewish roots - said he had "no concerns" with the way Carter made his decision.
Leaders fear Jewish community would 'wither' because of shechita ban
Jonathan Shenken became concerned a decade ago that his religious practice was under threat.
There were changes planned to the Animal Welfare Code that posed a danger to domestic kosher meat, and while those at the syngogue made noises about legal action, he went his own way.
"I'm not a committee person. I decided to start doing some digging myself."
He peppered the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry with Official Information Act (OIA) requests.
Learning to use the OIA was difficult and not made easier by officials who did not seem inclined to help, he said.
What emerged from all the paperwork he gained access to, he believed, was officials who were being urged by meat exporters to ban shechita, a form of animal slaughter that sees the intended meal prayed for before a ritualistic cutting of the throat.
It is a religious practice akin to that of the Muslim one of halal.
In NZ, animals are required to be stunned before being slaughtered, but the Jewish exemption to the stunning of kosher meat made it difficult for meat exporters, who feared Muslim countries would take umbrage over perceived preferential treatment of Jews. Muslims also oppose the stunning of animals.
Papers show that officials repeatedly spelled out to successive agriculture ministers how small the domestic kosher market was - about 2000 chickens a year and no more than 300 sheep - and that banning it could breach the Bill of Rights.
That advice continued right up to the current minister David Carter - who banned it anyway.
"My view is that Carter has only considered trade," said Shenken. "And when I found out the Minister had a pecuniary interest in exporting halal meat, it just blew my mind. There's a complete conflict on interest."
Shenken said the decision to ban shechita meat meant kosher meat would become inaccessable and signal the end of a 170-year Jewish community in New Zealand.
"The Jewish community worldwide knows of this. We can't attract teachers, rabbis, youth leaders. The community will wither."
NZ Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman said Carter's decision was met with "shock, dismay and disgust".
He said the community was currently seeking a rabbi for Auckland and potential applicants had raised the ban as a reason for not coming here.
Editorial calling for resignation or sacking of minister involved
Key has recently sacked another minister for less than what has gone on here.
The political problem for Key is he CAN’T axe Carter for this because Carter informed Key of the real reason for the ban and Key let him go ahead with it.
New Zealand lifted a ban on Jewish slaughter of poultry on Friday, reaching a deal that allowed the practice of shechita to resume there on a limited scale after a prohibition was put in place last May.
The local government dropped its objections to the practice only two days before it was scheduled to be debated in court, where a judge would have determined whether or not the ban was an infringement on religious rights. A ban on the preparation of kosher mutton and beef remains in effect, but is being negotiated.
Yitzhak Treister, treasurer of the Israel-New Zealand Friendship Association, told The Jerusalem Post that Friday’s decision marked a return to the previous status-quo, as most kosher beef and mutton is imported from Australia.
“The 5,000 Jews in New Zealand now have tremendous legal fees to pay,” Treister added. “They won’t get a court settlement, as there is no case.”