Jewish Community Leaders Criticize Proposed Ballot Measure Prohibiting Male Circumcision

November 17, 2010 … San Francisco, CA, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Board of Rabbis of Northern California and the American Jewish Committee today expressed great concern about a proposed ballot measure in San Francisco, which would make circumcision before the age of 18 a misdemeanor offense carrying a $1000 fine.

Male circumcision is a religious decision that is squarely within the legal rights of parents to make for their infant sons. For thousands of years, Jews around the world have engaged in this important religious ritual, which is of fundamental importance in the Jewish tradition. The organized Jewish community is deeply troubled by this initiative, which would interfere with the rights of parents to make religious decisions for their own families. Historically, people of all religions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds sought a new life in the United States in pursuit of religious liberty. Further, male circumcision is a widely accepted general practice in this country. San Francisco has a tradition of embracing the diversity and respecting the religious customs of its citizens. We trust that the voters of San Francisco will see this proposed initiative as an affront to that tradition and to their freedom.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.