Re “Is Circumcision a Right?”

This letter is in response to an article that appeared in The Washington Post on December 25, 2013.

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post

To the Editor: 


Liliane Maury Pasquier’s argument against male circumcision rests on a preconceived false assertion that the practice causes “irreversible harm” to children. Pasquier’s defense of the indefensible boils down to her view of male circumcision is right and any opposing view is, simply, wrong.  This same biased logic underlies PACE’s October 2013 report and resolution on the matter.

Pasquier’s op-ed conveniently omits the libelous attacks against circumcision contained within the PACE report, including calling the practice the “dark side” of Judaism, labeling it a “human rights violation” and falsely suggesting that “alternative rituals” are accepted by mainstream Jewish authorities. Jewish male circumcision is an essential element of Jewish religious identity.  Suggesting that religious leaders should now engage PACE in a debate – this after the organization has already declared its conclusive stance on the matter – is entirely backward and adds further insult to the millions of European Jews and Muslims whose fundamental religious freedom is being attacked.

In defending PACE’s actions, Pasquier presents male circumcision as a matter of protecting child welfare over the right to religious freedom.  While Judaism’s 4,000 year tradition of “Brit Milah” and it’s continued nearly universal practice by Jews is certainly one major argument in favor of circumcision, Pasquier also ignores the wide breath of medical studies arguing the health benefits of the practice, which include helping prevent the spread of HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and certain types of cancer.

The net effect of PACE’s report and resolution against male circumcision is a harsh message to Europe’s Jewish and Muslim communities that they must give up are not welcome to freely practice their faith on the continent.

Ms. Pasquier and PACE should be ashamed of their actions.


Abraham H. Foxman
National Director



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