- Prime Minister told Israeli Knesset on his ‘watch’ there will be no ban on the production of kosher meat
- He said his message is clear, Britain ‘opposes boycotts of Israel’
- His pro-Jewish speech came as leading British vet called for a ban on traditional kosher and halal meat, calling for more humane methods
By JASON GROVES
David Cameron yesterday vowed to defend the religious slaughter of animals in Britain.
In a strongly pro-Jewish speech to the Israeli Knesset, Mr Cameron said he would never allow a ban on the production of kosher meat, despite a call from Britain’s leading vet for it to be replaced by more humane methods.
Earlier this month, John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, called for a ban on the traditional production of both kosher and halal meat.
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‘I back kosher’: Prime Minister David Cameron told the Israeli Knesset that he will not allow a ban on the production of kosher meat, despite calls for it to be replaced by more humane methods
Traditional methods: Kosher butchers, like that pictured in Whitechapel, London, slaughter their animals in accordance with strict religious beliefs.
He said the practice of slitting animals’ throats and allowing them to bleed to death caused unnecessary suffering – and suggested animals should be stunned first.
Several Tory MPs have also called for a ban on a method of slaughter used to kill an estimated 600,000 animals a week in British abattoirs.
But, to applause from Israeli MPs yesterday, Mr Cameron, who attempted to speak Hebrew, praised the Jewish community’s integration into British society, and said he would never allow a ban on religious slaughter, known as Schechita.
He said: ‘The Jewish community has been an absolute exemplar in integrating into British life in every way but integration doesn’t mean that you have to give up things that you hold very dear in your religion.
‘On my watch Schechita is safe in the UK’
– Prime Minister David Cameron
‘When people challenged kosher Shechita. I have defended it.
‘I fought as a back-bench Member of Parliament against the last attempt to do something to change this.
‘And there’s no way I’m allowing that to change now I’m Prime Minister. On my watch Shechita is safe in the UK.’
In a speech that deliberately courted the Jewish vote, the Prime Minister also said he had no truck with boycotts of Israeli products, such as the Oxfam boycott on goods produced in the Israeli settlements that saw it split with Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson.
Applause: In yesterday’s speech David Cameron praised the Jewish community¿s integration into British society, and said he would never allow a ban on religious slaughter, known as Schechita. He is pictured at a press conference with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
No boycotts: In the strongly pro-Jewish speech Mr Cameron said: ‘To those who want to boycott Israel I have a clear message. ¿Britain opposes boycotts.’ While in Jerusalem the Prime Minister took part in a ceremony to honour the six-million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust at the conical shaped Hall Of Names, (pictured)
Miss Johansson quit her role as an ambassador to the charity in January after it criticised her decision to advertise Soda Stream, which has a large factory in the occupied West Bank.
The Prime Minister said: ‘To those who want to boycott Israel I have a clear message. Britain opposes boycotts.
‘Whether it’s trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians.’
He used Hebrew to let the people know he ‘understands’, telling them: ‘When I was last here in Jerusalem, I came as Leader of the Opposition and I remember being quite bemused as I sat listening to Israeli politicians telling me all about the challenges of coalition politics.
‘They told me about building a coalition, keeping it together, balancing the demands of different parties, sorting out the disputes and I just didn’t understand this strange system of government.
‘But after nearly 4 years as Prime Minister of my own coalition all I can say is: achshav ani mevin (right now, I understand).’
Call for ban: John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, called for a ban on the traditional production of both kosher and halal meat
Mr Cameron also pointed to Government action in banning hate preachers and foreign anti-semites from Britain.
‘I have led the fight against anti-Semitism and extremism in Britain,’ he said.
‘We’ve removed over 26 thousand pieces of illegal terrorist content from the internet worked with the police and with universities to stop extremists spreading their divisive messages on our university campuses and we’ve excluded more foreign preachers of hate on the basis of our strategy for preventing extremism than ever before.’
The Prime Minister highlight the recent decision to ban the controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, saying his ‘abhorrent displays of anti-Semitism have no place in a tolerant and inclusive Britain’.
Dieudonne hit the headlines in Britain recently when the West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka was banned for five matches for copying his ‘Quenelle’ gesture, which is modelled on an inverted Nazi salute.
Mr Cameron also pointed out that the Government had legislated to end the threat of ‘ideologically-motivated court cases against visiting Israeli politicians.
In a concerted charm offensive he even mentioned the fact Jewish great-great grandfather, although he made no mention of reports that he may be descended from Moses.