Austrian State Could Force Jews to Register to Buy Kosher Meat

A right-wing state-level Austrian Cabinet minister defended a plan to force Jewish residents to register in order to purchase kosher meat, citing “animal welfare” as his reasoning, according to a report from Haaretz. Haaretz notes that Gottfried Waldhäusl is the only state-level Cabinet member from Austria’s populist Freedom Party, which was created by a former Nazi and “strongly opposes Muslim immigration.” Waldhäusl’s plan was immediately met with harsh criticism from Jewish advocates, who noted that compiling a list of Jews echoed Nazi laws implemented in Austria in the late 1930s. The Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee explicitly noted that similarity, tweeting, “Soon with a star on the chest? This is an attack on Jewish and Muslim life! #Anti-Semitism.” The regional leader of the ruling Austrian People’s Party emphasized that this law would never take effect, and added that “Of course, nobody will have to register to buy kosher meat. There will be no such thing.” Many outlets have noted, however, that Austria has taken a hard right turn in recent months; despite the general rejection of Waldhäusl’s proposal, his party is still part of the nation’s leading coalition.