Simon Wiesenthal Center Urges Chancellor Merkel, Bundestag To Restore Rights Of Jews And Muslims To Perform Circumcisions

July 5, 2012

"It would be a stain on today's Germany to have this ruling stand"

Officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO, are urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bundestag leaders to take immediate legislative steps to ensure the rights of Jews and Muslims to continue the age-old practice of circumcising their male children. Last week a court in Cologne declared involuntary circumcision to be illegal. “It would be a stain on today's Germany to have this ruling stand,” wrote Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean in a July 5th letter to Chancellor Merkel.
The rabbis wrote that the judicial ruling in Cologne "is an attack on one of the fundamental principles of Judaism.  For 3,500 years, every male child has entered the Jewish people through the rite of circumcision.  We are not talking about a mere custom, but a biblical principle that has defined the Jewish people from time immemorial,” They added that, "Jews circumcised their children even at the risk of their lives when tyrants such as Antiochus and Stalin barred it. From the outset of the Nazi era, German Jews were under attack for their beliefs and practices, including circumcision.  Hitler said in one of his infamous anti-Semitic rants, ‘…Conscience is a Jewish invention, it is a blemish like circumcision.’”    
"Since the defeat of Nazism, Germany has come a long way, and worked very hard to successfully chart a new course after the horrific legacy of the Holocaust by guaranteeing religious freedom and democracy,” Rabbis Hier and Cooper wrote adding,  “It would be a stain on today's Germany to have this ruling stand.”

"Chancellor Merkel, you are a proven ally of Israel and friend to the Jewish people. The Simon Wiesenthal Center therefore urges you as the leader of democratic Germany to publicly condemn the Court's ruling and take a leadership role in calling upon the leaders of all the major parties in the Bundestag to take immediate legislative steps to guarantee the right of Jews and Muslims to continue to practice their age-old core tradition of circumcision," Center officials concluded.
For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook,, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).