What path is Judaism taking in Europe?? © dpa
What does the future of Judaism look like in Europe? According to the deputy executive director of the World Jewish Congress, Maram Stern, the way forward is unclear. He is particularly concerned about the growing right-wing populism.
The future of Judaism in Europe is "by no means" secure in the view of Maram Stern, deputy executive director of the World Jewish Congress.
"The fact that 75 years after the Second World War, central elements of Judaism are being bluntly put up for disposal in Central Europe is shameful," Stern writes in a guest article for the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" (Friday). "It shows that the professions of some right-wing populists about Judaism and Israel are really just lip service."
Slaughter and religious circumcision
As background, Stern cites a discussion in Austria about slaughter, the ritual slaughter of animals, but also debates about religious circumcision in general. "Although the debates about slaughter and those about religious circumcision are not completely the same, there are parallels," Stern points out. In both discussions, "undifferentiated and devious terms are used: archaic methods, cruelty to animals, child abuse".
Stern writes: "An unholy alliance is forming between right-wing and left-wing forces, between those who reject only Judaism and Islam and those secular forces who pretend to have nothing to do with religion – but with holy zeal stir up the mood against religious traditions because they regard them as foreign, backward and not belonging to 'our' cultural circle."
The discussion about the Muslim headscarf also belongs in this context. "One can be divided about this piece of material, but must it be banned in the name of freedom?" asks Stern. "Anyone who is really serious about animal welfare, children's welfare or women's rights should not point the finger at Jews or Muslims."Furthermore, no "sham debates" should be conducted.
Jews are particularly sensitive "when, in order to supposedly protect the values of the Christian-Jewish Occident, campaigns are waged with verve that counteract precisely these values," writes Stern. And when this happens in Germany and Austria, of all places, a feeling of deja vu quickly sets in."."