Europe’s Assault on Jewish Ritual
On july 21, 600 German doctors appended their signatures to a letter in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper calling for the practice of circumcision to be outlawed. In depicting circumcision as a form of bodily harm imposed by adults on powerless children, the doctors asserted that “religious freedom cannot be a blank check for sexual violence against underage boys.”
The letter was published less than a month after a district court in the city of Cologne ruled that circumcision is a criminal act. Both the small German Jewish community and its much larger Muslim counterpart expressed outrage at the decision. In a rare show of unity, their leaders jointly protested the ruling with a series of statements, interviews, and modestly attended public rallies. German politicians, too, weighed in anxiously, foremost among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, who articulated the fear that Germany risked turning itself into a “laughingstock” by preventing Jews from carrying out this most sacred ritual. Merkel has a point, to say the least: A country that forbids Jews from performing the Brit Milah upon their sons, in accordance with the injunction passed from God to Abraham in Genesis, is a country where Jews cannot live.
About the Author
Ben Cohen is a writer in New York City. His article “Attacking Israel Online” appeared in our July/August issue.