October 4, 2013
Historically only tyrants and dictators banned religious circumcision. Now, the institution representing the continent's democratic aspirations, passes a measure that would bar a core rite of Judaism.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center blasted the European Council for passing a non-binding resolution this week that calls on its member states to look into the possibility of banning brit millah, the ancient Jewish rite of male circumcision, on the basis that it is a "violation of the physical integrity of children" – a claim that has not been supported by medical evidence.
“The arrogance of these elites of Europe is astounding,” said Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. “By glibly discarding religious civilizations that provided meaning for thousands of years, they have fouled the very nest that gave Western Civilization the notion of human rights,” he added. “This resolution would rip apart the moral fabric of Europe - by stealing the right of parents to make decision for and communicate values to their children, and the right to worship G–d as they choose,” Adlerstein declared.
In recent years, there have been various initiatives across Western and Northern Europe have been calling for circumcision bans. In Hof, Germany, a 64-year-old rabbi was charged with the crime of performing circumcisions. Center officials led by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, lobbied German authorities to take legistlative action to guarantee Jewish parents' rights to circumsize their baby sons. Cooper has also met with officials in Scandinavia to prevent such bans from being implemented.
“Non-binding or not, this resolution is a stain on the European Council,” said Rabbi Cooper. “Historically, only tyrants and dictators have banned religious circumcision. Now, the very institution that represents the continent's democratic aspirations, has passed a measure that would effectively bar an ancient core rite of Judaism, robbing people of faith of their fundamental religious rights," he added.
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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).