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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Norway Official Wants to ‘Educate’ Jews against Circumcision

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The anti-circumcision bill in Norway, which the country’s foreign minister vows will not become law, is being pushed by the country’s child welfare adviser who wants Jews and Muslims to understand that causing pain is tantamount to a sin far worse than violating the Jewish law of circumcision.

New legislation on non-medical circumcision of boys under 18 is scheduled to be introduced before mid-April.

“With good information about risk, pain and lack of health benefits of the intervention, I think parents from minorities would voluntarily abstain from circumcising children,” Anne Lindboe, Norway’s Children’s Ombudsmen, told the Norwegian Aftenpost daily last week.

Her claims are questionable to say the least, but lest she be accused of trying to negate religious practice, she has a solution to those Jews who insists on upholding the ritual that is the physical bond among Jews since Abraham and which is the bond with God, for which Jews have been cursed and killed.

Her solution, reported here, is simply to perform a “symbolic ritual,” presumably one in which the baby will not cry, God forbid.

It would be easy to criticize her for ignorance of Judaism, but why expect a non-Jewish pediatrician from one of the most anti-Semitic countries in Europe to understand Jewish law and belief?

Lindboe is a pediatrician. She has seen children abused and even killed by parents, some of them mentally disturbed, drunk or simply wicked, and she puts them in the same basket as normal parents who circumcise their baby boys.

“We introduced a law on violence against children even though we had reason to believe that individuals would still be beaten and mistreated,” she told the newspaper,, dismissing concerns raised in Norwegian media that a ban on ritual circumcision would mean that parents would perform it illegally.

“If 15 years is set as the minimum age, we expect Norwegian parents follow and respect the law,” said Lindboe, a longtime advocate of the criminalization of ritual circumcision, which she considers a form of abuse and infringement of children’s rights to “physical integrity.”

“I think it’s disrespectful towards minorities to assume that they are going to break the law,” she added, showing an unbelievable ignorance of the very concept of any religion.

Her thinking, so to speak, reflects a modern and sterile philosophy that there is no such thing as “religious law” if a government views it as wrong.

Her attitude also reflects a modern view, often Christian, that no one has to suffer in life. Smile, have a nice day and don’t struggle with everyday difficulties that cause pain.

It is the same type of bleeding heart mentality that is behind “engagement” with monsters like Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and with masters of evil, such as the Islamic regime in Iran.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community of Oslo, told JTA he did not expect her campaign to lead to a ban on ritual circumcision in Norway. The country’s new Foreign Minister Børge Brende has promised the Simon Wiesenthal Center that “the Norwegian Government recognizes the importance of ritual male circumcision for the Jewish community in Norway…[and] it will not propose a ban on ritual circumcision.”

Regardless of whether Norway keeps its promise, the anti-circumcision campaign is alive and well around the world, even  though Germany passed legislation last year to protect Jews and Muslims’ right to circumcise their children.

As reported here and here, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly passed a non-binding resolution to ban ritual circumcision.

Some politicians in Quebec, a long-time bastion of anti-Semitism, have floated the idea of a ban.

Jews in Quebec have no fear of a ban, but more worrisome is the thinking, or lack of thinking, in which intelligent people want to see the world as the cover of a Saturday Evening Post magazine from the 1950s, or as a Woodstock festival, where no one has to struggle and everyone lives in complacence.

The problem with the dream world is that it leaves it defenseless against the Assads and Ayatollahs.

Linboe’s “no pain” world  that she wants to replace religious circumcision, about which she knows only a bit of the physical side and less than nothing about the metaphysical side, is a world that pretends evil does not exist and therefore does not have to be fought.

The Wiesenthal Center has said about all of the campaigns to ban circumcision, “Historically, such draconian actions were taken by tyrants, dictators and mass murderers. Today we are confronted with such initiatives being proposed and passed in democracies.”

The results are the same, but that doesn’t matter to the anti-circumcision crowd. The only thing that matters is that they don’t feel the pain when an Iranian or Hezbollah nuclear bomb blows up in their back yard.

French Politicians, Clergymen Back Petition Defending Circumcision

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

More than 5,500 people, including prominent French politicians, scholars and clergymen, have signed a petition against attempts to ban the 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 passage of a Council of Europe resolution that calls male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children.”

Among the petition signers are Anne Hidalgo, a candidate in next year’s Paris mayoral elections, the director Claude Lanzmann and former government ministers Claude Goasguen and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

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.”

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.”

Lithuania’s Support of Ritual Slaughter May Turn the Tide

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Lithuanian parliament has taken the first steps to legal ritual slaughter in what could be move that turns the tide against the wave of initiatives in Europe to defend the “rights of animals” as a higher priority that freedom of religious practices.

“The fact that Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the European Union means that this law will have an extremely strong symbolic significance for the rest of Europe,” said Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor.

The bill passed its first reading in the parliament by a lopsided margin of 51-2.

Religious slaughter was banned in Poland on January 1 after its Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights legislation, and there have been other attempts in Europe to ban religious traditions like circumcision.

“We face significant opposition to our traditions in Europe, but we are glad to be winning some significant victories for freedom of religion on our continent,” Kantor said. “Freedom of religion is one of the EU’s founding pillars and those who fight against it are compromising the principles of tolerance and mutual respect which the new Europe is supposed to be built upon.”

Council of Europe Says Ritual Circumcision Won’t Be Banned

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The Council of Europe has assured President Shimon Peres that Europe will not ban religious circumcision despite last week’s non-binding resolution of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly that cited circumcision of males as a violation of human rights and equated it with female genital mutilation.

President Peres wrote on Monday to Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to protest the resolution. Although it has no legal significance, the Council is very influential on decisions by the European Union.

Jangland said male circumcision did not violate human rights, and Daniel Holtgen, the Director of Communications at the Council of Europe, sent a tweet quoting Jagland as saying, “Female genital mutilation violates human rights. Male circumcision does not.”

The resolution angered Muslims as well as Jews. It called for European states to “promote further awareness in their societies of the potential risks of some of these procedures,” which the assembly lists as the circumcision of boys, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

Marlene Rupprecht, the rapporteur behind the resolution, claimed the text did not aim to “stigmatize any religious community or its practices” but simply called for public debate “aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity.”

While Jagland’s statements were good news for Jews and also for Muslims, it is scary that we are so susceptible to the threat of a ban on circumcision that we have to be grateful to someone deciding to suspend what would be a death sentence to Judaism.

Jews have died rather than accept decrees against circumcision, but today’s trend to use “human rights”  and “animal rights” to disguise campaigns that deprive Jewish rights is more subtle and devious than the open anti-Semitism of the past.

A judge in a German province earlier this year banned circumcision, leading to an uproar that prompted the national parliament to make it clear that ritual circumcision is legal.

The anti-circumcision movement is increasingly popular in Scandinavia, where the influx of Muslims also is a factor behind the campaign to prohibit the religious rite.

Jews and Muslims are constantly threatened with a ban on local slaughtering of animals according to Jewish and Muslim laws, which prohibit the method of stunning before using the knife. There are some leniencies in Muslim law.

The most recent controversy is in Poland, which banned ritual slaughter this year but where Jews now have to be thankful to the Catholic Church for supporting the rights of Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals according to religious laws.

The Polish parliament in July rejected a bill, sponsored by the government, to legalize kosher slaughter, but Pope Francis recently has voiced concern over the ban.

“Animal rights” supporters have successfully campaigned in Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland to outlaw kosher slaughter.

The European Union’s official policy states, “European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter” generally requires stunning before slaughter, but allows member states to allow exemptions for religious slaughter.”

Holland two years nearly outlawed kosher slaughter after the Animal Rights Party managed to convince the Lower House of parliament to pass a bill, which was rejected by the Upper House, to ban the practice.

Israel is the only country that comes to mind where Jewish rights still are unquestionably more important than “animals’ rights.”

As for circumcision, the only argument might be over “Metzitzah b’peh.”

Will Israeli Embassies in Europe Expand Services to Include Brit Mila and Shechitah?

Friday, October 4th, 2013

In response to the latest European ban on Brit Mila (circumcision), MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) has put forward the proposal to utilize the diplomatic immunity and extraterritorial status of Israel’s embassies, and allow Jewish families in Europe to perform their Brit Mila ceremonies within the Israeli embassy’s walls.

Jewish Home Knesset Member Nisan Slomiansky

Jewish Home Knesset Member Nissan Slomiansky

Slomiansky wrote to Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin stating, “We are witnessing the winds of Antisemitism again blowing through Europe, this time under the guise of humanism and health. It started with the ban on Shechitah (kosher slaughter of animals) that began in a few countries such as Sweden and Poland and it is now expanding throughout Europe. Throughout Jewish history, since the time of Abraham, Jews have given everything to fulfill Brit Mila, and we will continue, with Israel, to do so.”

Slomiansky said that Israel must let European Jews know that in every European country where Brit Mila is banned, Israel will open the embassies to them, where, on Israeli soil, they can perform Brit Mila without breaking the (local) laws.

One wonders if the Israeli embassies will soon be building Shechitah facilities too.

Maybe its just time for European Jewry to return home to Israel.

European Council Passes Anti-Ritual Circumcision Resolution

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

A resolution that calls male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children” was passed overwhelmingly by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The council, a pan-European intergovernmental organization that strongly influence European Union decisions, debated and passed the resolution on Tuesday, as reported here.

The resolution was based on a report by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development led by German rapporteur Marlene Rupperecht and passed by a lopsided margin of 78-13, with 15 abstentions.

It calls on member states to “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards” and 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.”

Practices covered by the resolution include female genital mutilation, the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, early childhood medical interventions in the case of intersexual children, corporal punishment, and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

“Although the adoption of this report is non-binding and does not represent any direct threat to milah, we are troubled at the readiness of the Parliamentary Assembly to dismiss the points made during the debate about religious freedom,” the Milah UK organization told JTA.

The ritual circumcision of boys younger than 18 has come under attack increasingly in Scandinavia and German-speaking European countries both by left-wing secularists and right-wingers who fear the influence of immigration from Muslim countries.

Back in the USSR

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Those among us who are middle-aged or older will remember a song by the Beatles called “Back to the USSR”. Ever since the minor crisis regarding the Asad regime’s use of chemical weapons, this song has been stuck my head.

This minor crisis has revealed, emphasized and demonstrated what we wrote about here long ago, which is the weakening of the Western bloc, especially the United States, and the return of the opposing group to the center of international stage under Russian leadership.  Putin’s article in the New York Times openly expressed his opinion about the old-new international situation, in which the world has stopped being a unipolar system, and has gone back to being a bipolar system, as it was until the end of the eighties, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the allies in Eastern Europe left it in favor of joining with the Western, democratic world, and afterward, the European Union.

The Russian Bloc is based on non-democratic countries that are hostile to the West, whether from a cultural point of view, like China and Syria, or a religious point of view, like Iran. Countries where democracy is limping along like Venezuela and Nicaragua, also join up with Russia, who doesn’t bother them too much about marginal matters like human rights and political freedoms. North Korea also enjoys China’s and Russia’s political protection, especially in the UN Security Council.

Today’s anti-democratic glue is apparently better than the glue of Slavic identity that formed the “Warsaw Pact” because it is a world view and a cultural perspective. Back then, membership in the Soviet bloc was forced on the states (for instance, in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet invasion of 1968), while today, states freely choose to belong to the Russian bloc. It is not yet a consolidated and unified bloc, but one definitely sees that this union of anti-democratic forces is winning ever more diplomatic territory in the international sphere. There is an important military aspect to this alliance, due to the supply of Russian weaponry to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Many countries in the world compare the behavior of the bloc under Russian leadership to the conduct of the West under United States’ leadership and conclude: The United States betrays her friends and abandons them, while Russia is faithful to her friends and defends them. When the world analyzes what the United States has done for states and rulers in recent years it finds Mubarak, who was abandoned by President Obama with the start of demonstrations against him; the president of Tunisia – bin Ali – who was forced to flee from the demonstrations without even one of his European friends  to rescue him; the United States abandons its friends in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening buildup; the West does not back Israel in its efforts to maintain its security and its strategic assets, and urges it to establish another Palestinian terror country in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, overlooking most of the territory of the State of Israel.

On the other hand, the world sees that Russia defends Iran and its nuclear project in the Security Council faithfully, and even supplies its reactors and the means of defending them; Russia is faithful to Asad and supplies him weaponry, ammunition and means of defense necessary for his survival; Russia supplies China with raw materials and places of employment.

In Economic matters as well, the West appears weak relative to Russia. Since six years ago, the Western economy – Europe and the United States together – has been caught in a structural crisis, not in a recession from which it is relatively easy to emerge. It seems that the unification of currency (the Euro) and production standards are not enough to make Europe into one body, so divisive forces exist there that even threaten the stability of some countries: the region of Catalonia wants to secede from Spain, and the Scots apparently will leave the United Kingdom in another year. Europe is addicted to Russian gas, and to oil that, by Iran’s “good will”, is allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz on its route from the Emirates to Europe.

Regarding the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, the West has seemed like a crumbling and disintegrating body, with no leader and no shared agenda. The British parliament is against war, the French is for it, and the American administration says that it’s getting ready to attack, Congress doesn’t support it, the American army is preparing for war and the State Department puts forth a compromise. The right hand does not know what the left is doing, and each one acts according to a different agenda. This is no way to build a bloc of states that is capable of executing a mission that everyone agrees is ethically justified: to defend the citizens of Syria from chemical weapons. And when ethics ceases to be the leading cause for the West, what is left of its values?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/back-in-the-ussr/2013/09/18/

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