European Jewish Organisations Set the Record Straight at Council of Europe Circumcision Hearings


brisRepresentatives from the European Jewish Congress, the Conference of European Rabbis and others strongly defended the core Jewish practice of Bris Milah at a parliamentary hearing at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on January 28.

The hearing was called after the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) passed a resolution last October which suggested that religious circumcision contravened “the rights of children’s physical integrity.”

While the vote is not binding on member states, nor indeed on the Council itself where the Parliamentary Assembly acts in a purely advisory capacity, the resolution has acted as a catalyst for a number of anti-circumcision initiatives in certain European states.

At the hearing in Strasbourg, EJC European Policy Advisor Philip Carmel welcomed the opportunity to state the positive case for Bris Milah to the parliamentarians.

“This was the first time members of the PACE came face to face with medical experts in the field and the clear message was that Bris Milah has the support of these experts. It was rather surprising to us that when they were challenged to bring medical experts to support their own case, the committee were unable to provide them, preferring instead to bring anti-circumcision activists from the US. They apparently weren’t able to find any in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.”

“It is sad that Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe have had to endure these last six months of pariah status, solely because the PACE chose to equate Bris Milah with female genital mutilation without doing the necessary homework in advance.”

Rabbi Moché Lewin, Executive Director of the Conference of European Rabbis said: “There is no doubt that we would prefer the issue of Milah not to be on the political agenda at any level in Europe but what was demonstrated today, is that wherever it is discussed or debated, the Jewish communities of Europe will be unequivocal and robust in our defence of our fundamental religious rights.”

Closing the debate at the hearings, the new rapporteur for the parliamentary committee which had initiated the report and resolution attacking Brit Milah, Valeriu Ghiletchi from Moldova, stated that his committee would not now continue discussing the matter but would wait for the Council’s ministers to raise the issue if they so desired.

With no current initiative coming from the ministers, it appears that the matter has now been laid to rest.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. It says that Moshe Rabeinu did not want to Maleh his son Eliezer, and did not institude Bris Milah for the Yidden in all the years in the Midbor.
    When Yehoshua took over the leadership, they finally did Milah.
    Moshe Rabbeinu referred to the lips and verbal capability, when he used the term ARAL Sefosayim.
    The only time Bris Milah is mentioned in Toras Moshe, is in the Parshe of Tazria, only one Posuk.

  2. “set the record straight”????

    The “record” is they don’t like Jews and Muslims, and are showing it. No bigot admits to mindless hatred. All bigots claim their hatred is rational and based on logic and scientific consideration. They are bigots, and that is all there is to it.

  3. To Yira:
    Moshe Rabbeinu was almost EATEN ALIVE BY A SNAKE for not doing bris milah until Tzippora went ahead and did it.

    The gemarra in Yevamos is clear – in the desert they were
    נזופים הם לפני המקומ
    …Hashem was angry at them. They couldn’t do bris milah because the northern wind (רוח צפונית) didn’t blow.
    They did it in the beginning of the 40 years because of the Korban Pesach.

    And only “one” posuk? WHO CARES HOW MANY PESUKIM?! They are all equally important. There are 613 mitzvos, not 612. Besides, what about the pesukim by Avraham Avinu? We learn about the 8th day even on a C-section from those pesukim. See the Brisker Rav on the sugya.

    Shema Yisroel is also only one pasuk and that’s the pasuk that says Hashem is One. So is bircas hamazon. So is Kibud Av is one, and YIRA is only one.

    Your Torah knowledge is astounding…