My view on Shchita in the UK
A while back, a week before the General Election, this issue came back at a meeting. I was busy attacking UKIP and caring about Israel so I totally didn't see it coming! So here is my answer now I have a bit of time to think about it. Let's start by debunking some misconceptions about the Green Party's policy before I explain why I broadly support it. Contrary to a report in the Jewish News, The Green Party does not support a ban on shchita. JN have never apologised for this, though apparently the paper printed Adele Ward's response which I've not actually seen but heard about it at a campaign meeting. The trashy report fed into very troubling misconceptions combined with our Israel policy that only serve to spread Lashon Harah in the local communities where Greens are trying to make the world a more sustainable place. We had a vote which took place at a conference plenary before the 2014 local and European elections. It went something like this: The substantive motion was a beef-up of our animal policies, and included CCTV in all slaughterhouses and a clause about "ending the religious exemption" on so-called non-stun slaughter and pre-stunning. There was a debate and it was quite heated. I prepared a speech which I did not have to use because after the workshop report from Danny Bates in Caroline Allen's absence the motion was taken to parts and my good friend Josiah Mortimer stepped in, and the clause was removed. Josiah recently told me that a ban would mean Jews and Muslims would have to leave the country; echoing Henry's words at Shchita UK. Thankfully such a scenario is a long way off. The Animal Welfare Party (AWP) have long held a fundamentalist anti-shchita message and policy and they were thankfully defeated in London by the Green candidate who was narrowly re-elected, despite the UKIP surge. After that conference I had the pleasure of campaigning for the German Green Party's Terry who used to be head of the Young Greens. We visited a town where there were also elections for the integration council. Someone approached us and spoke to the candidate in German. I speak quite good German but checked this afterwards. He asked her our stance on Shchita. She responded that we do not take a position but we would maintain religious freedom. This nuanced policy is the same here in the UK. It is quite difficult to get across because it is nuanced, it is controversial on both sides, and because the Green Party are well known for animal rights or animal welfare, and not so well known for our excellent work opposing antisemitism and empowering minorities. As for labelling - Coming from UKIP this represents a threat, but coming from the Green Party we believe labelling to be a possible long term objective towards a vegetarian world. I spoke about my vision for this during the campaign. Shchita is an issue I am passionate about, defending it was part of my campaign, and I will continue to defend it shoulder to shoulder with West Hendon's Muslim communities that it is a pleasure to be friends with. Animal Welfare is a priority for us and I would urge anyone voting for the AWP in 2019 European elections to reconsider, and Vote Green.