B’nai B’rith International condemns the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for passing a resolution that declares ritual circumcision a “violation of children’s physical integrity.” This 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.
The resolution calls upon member states to “adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted.”
“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."
We urge all European leaders, governments and societies to decisively reject a path of government coercion and imposition in religious life.