NEW YORK (EJP)---The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and B’nai B’rith International condemned a resolution and report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strsbourg, which calls the Jewish ritual circumcision a “violation of children’s physical integrity,” undermining the religious freedom to perform circumcision on newborn boys.
‘’The resolution is a thinly disguised attack on one of the most fundamental rites of Judaism, “brit milah,” and targets Europe’s Jewish citizens,’’ said ADL National Director, Abraham H. Foxman.
‘’Circumcision on the eighth day is nearly universally practiced among Jews, and its ban could lead to entire Jewish communities leaving Europe,’’ he added.
‘’It is inconceivable that a Jewish community could remain in any country that banned “brit milah.”
The accompanying PACE report, on which the resolution is based, calls the religious practice the ‘dark side’ of Judaism, labels it a ‘human rights violation,’ and falsely suggests that ‘alternative rituals’ are accepted by mainstream Jewish religious authorities.
The author of the report, a Germany Socialist MP, expressed regret that the German parliament protected circumcision, rather than accepting her proposal that no circumcision could be performed on children younger than 14 years old, a proposal that in effect would have put an end to Jewish life in Germany.
ADL noted that the majority of PACE delegates from France, Germany, Ukraine, and Hungary, where large Jewish communities exist, voted in favor of the resolution.
‘’What is also worrying is that the British delegation was evenly split. While the national governments in these countries are working to improve the sense of security for their Jewish communities, the PACE delegates are sending the opposite message that Jewish citizens are not welcome in Europe,’’ ADL said.
‘’The Council of Europe calls itself ‘the continent’s leading human rights organization,’ but the PACE resolution and report are leading Europe in a horrific direction toward the forced exclusion of Jewish citizens of Europe and violations of their religious freedom. Is it really possible in the 21st Century, that the representatives in PACE want to create a continent with no Jews?’’
Accoreding to B’nai B’rith International, the resolution, while non-binding, ‘’could encourage a frightening infringement upon basic religious freedoms and on the ability of Jewish and other faith communities in Europe to exist.’’
“By advancing this resolution, the Council of Europe has not proposed the advancement of human rights, but rather the denial of rights,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “It is an extremely slippery slope—one which inexcusably misreads and oversimplifies scientific understandings, and seeks to impose certain societies’ cultural norms on others. This resolution transparently aims to marginalize and exclude specific minority communities.”
“Circumcision is not discretionary, but rather central, in Jewish life and practice throughout history,” added B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “It must be made clear what those who support the criminalizing of circumcision in Europe are proposing: Discrimination against the Jewish community in Europe."
The group urged all European leaders, governments and societies to decisively reject a path of government coercion and imposition in religious life.