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Press Release

ADL: Circumcision Resolution “Targets Europe’s Jewish Citizens”

New York, NY, October 4, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned a resolution and report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which undermines religious freedom to perform circumcision on newborn boys, a fundamental Jewish rite.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

The resolution is a thinly disguised attack on one of the most fundamental rites of Judaism, “brit milah,” and targets Europe’s Jewish citizens.  Circumcision on the eighth day is nearly universally practiced among Jews, and its ban could lead to entire Jewish communities leaving Europe.  The resolution’s suggestion for so-called ‘dialogue’ with religious leaders to ‘overcome’ this four thousand year tradition and to adopt laws requiring a child’s consent, are steps toward de facto prohibition.  It is inconceivable that a Jewish community could remain in any country that banned “brit milah.”

In the accompanying PACE report, on which the resolution is based, the attacks on circumcision are obvious and insulting.  The report calls the religious practice the ‘dark side’ of Judaism, labels it a ‘human rights violation,’ and falsely suggests that ‘alternative rituals’ are accepted by mainstream Jewish religious authorities.  The author of the report expressed regret that the German parliament protected circumcision, rather than accepting her proposal that no circumcision could be performed on children younger than 14 years old, a proposal that in effect would have put an end to Jewish life in Germany.

Ominously, the majority of PACE delegates from France, Germany, Ukraine, and Hungary, where large Jewish communities exist, voted in favor of the resolution.  What is also worrying is that the British delegation was evenly split. While the national governments in these countries are working to improve the sense of security for their Jewish communities, the PACE delegates are sending the opposite message that Jewish citizens are not welcome in Europe.

The Council of Europe calls itself ‘the continent’s leading human rights organization,’ but the PACE resolution and report are leading Europe in a horrific direction toward the forced exclusion of Jewish citizens of Europe and violations of their religious freedom.  Is it really possible in the 21st Century, that the representatives in PACE want to create a continent with no Jews?

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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