Anti-Semitism once again raises its ugly head in Europe, this time in the not-so-subtle form of an attempt to ban circumcision!
Swiss Circumcision Decision an Ominous Portent for Euro Jews
Last week, Germany’s parliament acted expeditiously to squelch the attempt of a Cologne judge to ban circumcision.
A cross-party motion promoted by Chancellor Angela Merkel passed by the
lower house urged the government to present a bill in the fall that
would specifically protect the right of circumcision. This both
reassured the Jewish and Muslim communities as well as prevented Germany
from being seen as, in Merkel’s words, a “laughingstock” for seeking to
render illegal a key Jewish religious ritual only a generation after
But Germany’s efforts may not be enough to halt the momentum of those seeking to infringe upon religious liberty. As Haaretz reports,
two Swiss hospitals have just announced they will stop performing
circumcisions. This illustrates that the movement to ban circumcision,
fueled as it is by the rising tide of European anti-Semitism, is still
Even if Merkel follows up on her pledge to ensure that circumcision
is protected in Germany, the problem is that the Cologne ruling granted a
veneer of respectability to its opponents. Whereas in the past those
railing against Jewish practices were largely marginal, the court
victory legitimized their campaign to drive one of the key principles of
Judaism — the Abrahamic covenant that circumcision symbolizes
—underground. As with other expressions of Jew-hatred in the current
atmosphere in which Israel and its supporters are demonized, it is now
possible to be more open with contempt for Judaism and to advocate
measures that might have been unthinkable not that long ago.
Moreover, the court placed a doubt in the minds of doctors and others
in the medical profession that they would be exposed to penalties for
performing the procedure. After the Cologne ruling, the German Medical
Association advised doctors to stop their participation in circumcision.
It bears remembering that, as COMMENTARY contributor Ruth Wisse once
wrote, anti-Semitism is the most successful ideology of the 20th
century. It helped inform Fascism, Nazism and Communism and today is a
useful tool for Islamists and their European leftist allies. The
campaign against circumcision, like the even more successful European
efforts to ban kosher slaughter, is driven in no small measure by a
desire to drive Jews out of the continent. That it is harming Muslims as
much as Jews is an irony that ought not to prevent joint efforts by the
two communities to combat this noxious proposal.
But taken in the context of a noticeable increase in violence against
Jews in the aftermath of the shootings in Toulouse this past spring,
the circumcision bans are an indication that the future of European
Jewry is by no means assured.
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