During a CER Standing Committee meeting in Athens, the rabbis condemned the "miserable move," which they said stemmed from "hatred of Israel" and accused Europe's leaders of adopting double standards towards the Jewish state and its neighbors. They wondered why the EU wasn't labeling products from Iraq and Syria as well.
CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt found a similarity between the decision made Monday and the attempts of opponents of Jewish slaughter to label kosher meat products about two years ago. "We dealt with the desires of Europe's new anti-Semites," he said, "and we succeeded in curbing this initiative in the European Parliament and in the EU institutions.
"I said to them, you want to brand? Go ahead. But brand meat products from animals who were killed by gas or in any other way as well. Now we are saying again: You want to brand? Go ahead. Brand the products made in Syria, under the Islamic State and (Syrian President Bashar) Assad, or in Iraq."
He reiterated that "these initiatives are the face of new anti-Semitism in Europe."
Joining the battle against Open Orthodoxy
The CER Standing Committee also decided to join the rabbinical organizations in the United States and issue an official statement against liberal movements in the US Orthodoxy. The committee decided, however, not to sign the American rabbis' original statement, but to issue a softer version in order to allow liberal rabbis to leave their movements and return to the more conservative organizations.
"The conference will only accept to its ranks rabbis who meet the principles of Judaism and Halachah mentioned here and will not accept any new initiatives that are not in the spirit of Jewish law and tradition, the spirit of Israel Saba," the CER rabbis wrote.
"The conference views with regret the deviations from religious foundations coming from the direction of the movement called 'Open Orthodoxy' and hereby declares that those who act in this spirit, graduates of this movement, from the institution known as 'Chovevei Torah' and the like, would not be recognized by us as rabbis, with all that this implies."