The attempts to criminalise circumcision in certain countries which are generally hailed as leaders in the fields of tolerance and human rights are very frightening. What is patently obvious is that anti-Semites will attack Jews with whatever weapons are at their disposal. If you have a genocidal and anti-Semitic dictatorship available then you build crematoria and gas chambers and sacrifice the war effort to kill already impoverished and incarcerated Jews. If, however, you find yourself at the mercy of a modern human rights’ inspired democracy you utilise the principles of human rights to fight your Jewish enemies. You can attack the Jewish State for a whole pantheon of alleged undemocratic human rights abuses, vent your spleen and not even be liable to accusations of anti-Semitism because such behaviour is carefully relabelled as ‘Antizionism’, a perfectly acceptable, human rights compliant and politically correct method of spreading slander against Jews and promoting gratuitous hostility against them. Circumcision and other Jewish practises become the targets for their readily defined incompatibility with the democratic or human rights milieu.
The modern day blood libel against circumcision is not new. All tolerant and loving civilizations of the ancient world, Rome, Egypt, Greece and others looked on circumcision as a barbaric practise, much as their modern human rights loving heirs do. The idea that a child’s human rights are being transgressed by circumcising him or that he is being mutilated are utterly absurd. What is more frightening is that the debate is not merely one of whether freedom of religion and religious practice take precedence over what is deemed by some to be human rights or vice versa. It is not simply a question of saying that since circumcision is part of our religion and western human rights declare freedom of religion to be a right that we should therefore be allowed to practise this part of our religion.
I cannot speak for other groups or religions that practise male circumcision but for Jews circumcision is not merely one of its many and integral practices. Circumcision is the mark of Jewish identity, linking the circumcised child to the Abrahamic covenant and to all that makes Jews what they are and do. Western society talks of ‘Judeo-Christian’ ethics (whatever those may be). Many values of Judaism are embraced wholeheartedly by western civilizations and their Jewish roots often acknowledged. These values that stem from Judaism stem from the Abrahamic covenant and from the commitment by the Jewish people to pursue a divine, holy and civilized path. To attack circumcision is to attack the notion that Jewish practise and identity are in any way an expression of something divine. Modern human rights for many has no place for the divine.
Those who attack circumcision wish to undermine the very existence and ethos of the Jewish people. Their quarrel with Hitler is one of methodology, not one of purpose. They wish to undermine and eradicate circumcision and any connection between western civilization and its Jewish origins. The truth is that many human rights advocates pursue an atheistic agenda and use their purported commitment to rights or democracy to further their own hatreds and intolerance. They will use human rights laws and rules to allow anti-western or anti-Semitic movements to grow and flourish and utilise terror. They will selectively champion the cause of some downtrodden peoples while happily embracing their own oppressive and murderous allies. They will seek to slander or undermine Jews and Judaism in the guise of democracy and human rights. For such people true respect and the espousal of true protection of others is a sham. Talking human rights becomes the pretence that I love my fellow human beings. I care for them and their welfare. I tolerate them if they are different from me. But if they are Jewish, or some other type I do not like, then I will utilise my human rights claptrap to sever them from humanity, from my tolerance and, ultimately, from protection against harm or oppression. Such people say to the Jewish people that one of your central self-defining practises is incongruent with my beautiful world view. You, Jews, you are incompatible with the world I want.
It is not just that Jews should be allowed to do Jewish things. If only the world would recognise the dark truth behind the human rights hypocrites. Do not let tolerance become the mask of intolerance.
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