The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a body composed of five
left-wing political organization that include the Socialist Group, the Alliance
of Liberal Democrats for Europe and the Group of the Unified European Left, has
identified circumcision as a violation of male children’s “physical
Luckily, PACE, which has called “to adopt specific legal
provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried
out before a child is old enough to be consulted,” is powerless to make binding
Nevertheless, PACE’s resolution reflects a growing trend in Europe
against religious practices such as circumcisions and ritual slaughter that
Europeans deem “barbaric” or “inhumane.”
Increasingly, the approximately
1.4 million Jews living in Eastern and Western Europe are being made to feel
unwelcome. As French journalist and writer Michel Gurfinkiel noted in an essay
that appeared in August in Mosaic, an online magazine of Jewish thought: “Once
again, Jews are accepted on condition: that they separate themselves from their
brethren in Israel and join the official European consensus in demonizing the
Jewish state; that they learn to accommodate the reality that so many ethnic
Europeans hate them and wish them ill, and that Islamists on European soil seek
their extinction; and that in the interest of justifying their continued claim
to European citizenship, they accept Europe’s proscription of some of the most
basic practices of their faith.”
Reading through the report Marlene
Rupprecht, a member of the German Bundestag for the Social Democratic Party,
prepared for PACE, one gets the distinct impression of tendentiousness, as if
her real goal was to proscribe a basic practice of the Jewish faith and in the
process she did not allow the facts to get in her way.
In a section
titled “Arguments regularly presented in favor of male circumcision and its
legal authorization,” Rupprecht rightly notes that the American Academy of
Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision in 2012 found “the health benefits of
newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks,” because it prevents urinary tract
infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted
infections, and penile cancer.
She also notes that the World Health
Organization recommends circumcision because it “reduces the risk of
heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 percent.” So
far so good.
But then, inexplicably, under the same section where she is
supposed to be arguing in favor of circumcision, without warning while
discussing religious justifications for the practice, she refers to circumcision
as “the ‘dark side’ of their [Jews’ and Muslims’] own religion, traditions and,
So much for objectivity.
Even more bewildering
are the arguments Rupprecht marshaled against circumcision.
to find a slightly out-of-date British Medical Journal article from 1949 that
found “no medical justification for routine neonatal circumcision.” (She failed
to mention a 2002 BMJ article that found circumcision to be linked to lower
rates of cervical cancer.) Bizarrely, she cites a “well-known TV documentary” by
Victor Schonfeld, called It’s a Boy, that sought out, and found, some of the
negative aspects of circumcision.
And though she claims repeatedly that
circumcision “may have serious short-term and long-term consequences for the
health and well-being of boys and men,” no where in her report does she bring
evidence to this effect.
Reading Rupprecht’s report, which was endorsed
in a 78 to 13 vote with 15 abstentions by left-wing lawmakers from 47 European
countries, one cannot help but wonder whether PACE – in a dubious invocation of
“children’s rights” – is attempting to create a European continent with no
And if this is coming from Europe’s Left, which should be more
sensitive to the infringement of Jews’ basic religious liberties, what should be
expected of the xenophobic Right and the fast-growing Muslim minorities with
their blatant anti-Jewish/anti-Israel agendas? In short, Europe is fast becoming
an inhospitable place for Jews – yet again.
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