Wiesenthal Center slams international campaign to ban circumcision

The Wiesenthal Centre alleges that an international campaign is attempting to ban the traditional Jewish circumcision ceremony.

Eitan Divinsky ,

Preparing for circumcision
Preparing for circumcision
Flash 90

The Wiesenthal Center addressed Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) in a written statement asking the organization to clarify its campaign to ban the circumcision. In a letter to the group's director, Advocate Steven Svoboda, Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels "requested Svoboda's comments" on a number of his statements.

The Center said that in 2019, the ARC convened the “Brussels Collaboration on Body Integrity," where Female Genital Mutation (FGM) was equated with Jewish "Brit Mila." According to the report, the ARC alleged that "cutting any person’s genitals without their informed consent is a serious violation of their right to bodily integrity. As such, it is morally impermissible…"

Samuels said that "papers written in a vacuum show little understanding of the role of the 8th-day circumcision - from Abraham…to the present - as a three-way station from birth to 'Bar Mitzva' at 13 and, eventually, marriage."

The Wiesenthal Center's letter stressed how, "in 1930s’ Nazi Germany, Jews continued ‘Brit Mila’ as an act of resilience and resistance. In 2012, a Cologne court sought to ban it. The German Jewish community, together with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, protested to Berlin their outrage at such a law in Germany, 67 years after the Holocaust…"

"Now, ARC seems to be politicizing the issue," continued the letter. "First at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and, in 2019 on a Brussels platform - seat of the European Union - with the slogan "Medically Unnecessary Genital Cutting and the Rights of the Child - MOVING TOWARDS CONSENSUS."

Samuels asked to have another statement by the ARC encouraging readers " to [view] this video, [which includes] a Jewish circumcision" so that they can decide for themselves that the "…Male circumcision is never ‘just a snip’. It is a frequently traumatic intervention."

The letter went on to say that "the [Brussels platform] appears to be a call for the institution of public policy banning the brit consisting of "clear ethical statements from professional medical bodies," a "social campaign geared towards education and consciousness-training, as well as "moral and material support for dissenters from within practicing communities."

"Mr. Svoboda, what is deemed by our constituency as attacks on this fundamental ethic of Judaism can be construed as an assault on the Jewish people," concluded Samuels.