Circumcision: court ruling blasted
German decision is a ‘blood libel’ against Jews, says UK Chief Rabbi
BRITAIN”S CHIEF Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, delivered a swingeing attack on a German court that demanded the banning of ritual circumcision – just weeks after it was reported that another infant in the UK had died after he was mutilated by a rabbi.
Sacks, on his blog, wrote:
It [the Cologne court] has declared that circumcision is an assault on the rights of the child since it is performed without his consent. It ignored the fact that if this is true, teaching children to speak German, sending them to school and vaccinating them against illness are all assaults against the rights of the child since they are done without consent. The court’s judgement was tendentious, foolish and has set a dangerous precedent.
In historical context, however, it is far worse. By ruling that religious Jews performing their most ancient sacred ritual are abusing the rights of the child, a German court has just invented a new form of Blood Libel perfectly designed for the twenty-first century.
Sacks also attacked the verdict on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live programme at the beginning of July.
His outburst followed a ruling by a London inquest that a rabbi “was completely blameless” in regard to the death of a one-month-old baby from Queen’s Park bled to death less than two days after he was circumcised.
Hours after Angelo Ofori-Mintah was circumcised, the wound began to bleeding. He later suffered a cardiac arrest and died in the early hours of February 17.
The inquest heard that the boy’s mother had received clear aftercare instructions from Rabbi Mordehai Cohen, who carried out the procedure. He gave her a printed guide which included his contact details in case of emergency.
When the boy began bleeding, a friend of the mother, who is originally from Ghana, called the rabbi who advised putting Vaseline on the wound.
Deputy Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said a “tragic break-down in communication” followed, which left Rabbi Cohen unaware of the full circumstances, and that he was entirely blameless for the tragedy.
Mrs Radcliffe, delivering a verdict of accidental death, said:
This is simply a tragic accident, an unforeseen consequence of the surgical procedure that this baby undertook.
Commenting on the case on his Ending Unnecessary Male Circumcision in the UK blog, Glen Poole said:
It isn’t the first time Dr Radcliffe has angered campaigners. The doctor hit the headlines last year when the family of a cyclist killed by a lorry took legal action against her claiming she failed to comply with her duties to “fully, fairly and fearlessly” investigate the facts of the death
Angelo’s is not the first baby to bleed to death as the result of a circumcision. Later this year a Salford midwife will be tried for the manslaughter of the baby Goodluck Caubergs who bled to death in 2012.
In light of this recent death you are strongly encourage to sign our online petition to government – click here now to help us End Unnecessary Male Circumcision in the UK.
Meanwhile, it was reported in the US that New York City health officials proposed in June that Orthodox Jewish parents be should to sign a consent waiver before they can take part in a circumcision ritual that is believed to have led to the deaths of at least two babies in the city over the past decade.
The proposal, introduced at a Board of Health meeting, represents an escalation of the city’s efforts to curtail the ancient Jewish procedure of metzitzah b’peh, in which an adult male, usually the circumciser, places his mouth directly on the wound created by the removal of the infant’s foreskin to suck away the blood.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report based on city information that said that from 2000 to 2011, 11 newborn babies in New York contracted the herpes simplex virus after the ritual. Ten of those babies were hospitalised; two suffered brain damage, and two died.
Based on those findings, the city’s health department issued a statement strongly urging that direct oral-genital suction not be performed during circumcision. It also announced that a number of hospitals had agreed to distribute a pamphlet to parents considering at-home circumcision, warning them of the risks.
Oral suction is no longer a part of most Jewish circumcisions, but among the more than 250,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews in the New York area, the ritual remains commonplace. In its study, the CDC estimated that roughly 3,600 newborn boys a year in New York had circumcisions that included the procedure. Those infants, the agency said, had more than triple the normal risk of contracting herpes.
Over the past decade, as stories of babies sickened after such circumcisions have come to light, ultra-Orthodox authorities have strongly defended the practice as a religious right. Some rabbis argue that there is not enough evidence to show that the procedure causes infection, while others say the practice is important enough that it should be continued anyway.
Hat tip: M A Chohan & Glen Poole