French Jews Push Back on Efforts To Ban Circumcision

5,000 Leaders Sign Petition Defending Practice

Push Back: French director Claude Lanzmann is one of a slew of notables to sign a petition defending ritual circumcision of children.
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Push Back: French director Claude Lanzmann is one of a slew of notables to sign a petition defending ritual circumcision of children.

By JTA

Published October 24, 2013.
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More than 5,000 people, including prominent French politicians, scholars and clergymen, have signed a petition against attempts to ban ritual circumcision of boys in Europe.

Titled “no to a ban on circumcision,” the petition was published on Oct. 16 by CRIF, the umbrella organization representing France’s Jewish communities, following the Oct. 1 passing of a Council of Europe resolution that calls male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children.”

Among the co-signatories of the petition are Anne Hidalgo, a candidate in next year’s Paris mayoral elections; the director Claude Lanzmann and Claude Goasguen and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, both former government ministers. By Thursday, the petition had more than 5,500 signatures.

The non-binding resolution by the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly “targets European Jewish communities that are already exposed to the unprecedented resurgence of anti-Semitism,” the petition reads. “It is inconceivable to those who survived the Holocaust” and “dangerous because it stigmatizes Jews,” the petition reads.

Other co-signatories include Patrick Dubois, a French Catholic priest and Holocaust scholar, and Alain Massini, a well-known Protestant pastor.

The text of the petition also characterizes the resolution as “insulting” because it “equates between circumcision and [female genital] mutilation.”

In the resolution, “female genital mutilation and the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons” are listed together as examples of “violations of the physical integrity of children, which supporters of the procedures tend to present as beneficial to the children themselves despite clear evidence to the contrary.”

But Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, wrote in a letter earlier this month that the resolution does not equate the two practices.


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