Danish rabbi tells porkies about prepuce procedures

Danish rabbi tells porkies about prepuce procedures

THE former Head of Child Surgery at Copenhagen’s largest hospital has accused the Danish chief Rabbi of lying about the dangers of circumcision.

According to Glen Poole’s Ending Unnecessary Male Circumcision in the UK blog, in a startling interview on Danish TV, the Danish Chief Rabbi, Bent Lexner, claimed that he’d overseen the circumcision of around 1,000 male infant over 40 years and that there hadn’t been a single complication.

Rabbi Bent Lexner

But one of Denmark’s leading pediatricians, Dr Preben Kirkegaard, says  he has seen several cases every year of baby boys with circumcision complications – including life-threatening conditions – and says some of these were carried out by the Chief Rabbi who claims there had never been a problem.

Even without Dr Kirkegaard’s powerful testimony, the claim that there has never been a complication is surprising as all surgery carries risk – even circumcisions carried out by skilled surgeons in medical settings.

The TV feature also carries an interview with Kjeld Koplev a Danish radio journalist who was born into a Jewish family and circumcised as a baby who says:

It is torture and mutilation of male infants. Why should a Rabbi who doesn’t have a medical education be allowed to do that?

To read a full transcript of the interview click here now. To see the TV interview with English subtitles click here now.

Coincidentally, the interview took place at around the same time that I received a letter from a correspondent in Scotland, robustly defending circumcision. He himself had been circumcised as an infant, and he declared:

 Of all the things for which I thank my parents, the greatest is my circumcised organ.

What really amazed me about the letter was the writer’s assertion that:

In recent conflicts in the Middle East the largest number of non-combat related hospital admissions of Western troops has been due to sand in the foreskin.

What!? Could this possibly be true? Well, this begged to be investigated, and I quickly discovered that this is pure myth – and one that goes back decades.

According to this report, during and after World War Two, a very common reason for circumcising in Australia and New Zealand was:

He might have to fight in the desert. He could get an infection under his foreskin and have to be circumcised then. Better to do it now.

Manfred Rommel

Some pro-circumcisionists have gone so far as to claim that men of the Germans’ Afrika Korps were circumcised for the same reason. Not many members survive, but one living person is in a good position to know: Manfred Rommel, 84, the son of Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel, “the Desert Fox”.

He was 14 in October 1944 when his father was forced to take poison for plotting against Hitler. The retired German politician has been in touch with his father’s former troops throughout his life, and in 2002 wrote from his home in Stuttgart:

I have never heard that soldiers of the Africa Corps were circumcised. The veterans I could contact have not either.

And in an article, entitled The Riddle of the Sands: Circumcision, History, and Myth written by Robert Darby for the New Zealand Medical Journal in July, 2005:

None of the ancient cultures which practised circumcision have traditionally claimed that the ritual was introduced as a sanitary measure. African tribes, Arabs, Jews, Moslems, and Australian Aboriginals explain it different ways, but divine command, tribal identification, social role, family obligation, respect for ancestors, and promotion of self control figure prominently.

He added:

Jewish authorities make no mention of hygiene, let alone sand, but place stress on the religious significance of circumcision: it is an outward sign of the Covenant between God and his people. The Kaguru of central Tanzania explain circumcision (practised at puberty on both boys and girls) in terms of enhancing gender differentiation and social control. They consider the uncircumcised penis unclean because its moistness makes men resemble women, whose wet and regularly bleeding genitals are considered polluting.

 Hat tip: Glen Poole



27 responses to “Danish rabbi tells porkies about prepuce procedures”

  1. Buffy says:

    In recent conflicts in the Middle East the largest number of non-combat related hospital admissions of Western troops has been due to sand in the foreskin.

    Were they boinking the sand dunes? Wouldn’t prostitutes or even camels be less painful?

  2. Steve says:

    The hygiene argument is pretty stupid. You might as well argue for the removal of boys’ feet instead of encouraging them to change their socks.

  3. Angela_K says:

    “….its moistness makes men resemble women” I knew there had to be some misogyny in there somewhere!

    Persons practicing as a GP or Surgeon without the necessary training and qualifications are, in the UK, quite rightly prosecuted and imprisoned. Religion, as usual, is exempt.

  4. barriejohn says:

    So their all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful God created a human body which is actually defective, and needs adjustment if it is to function properly!

  5. alb says:

    I don’t buy the sand excuse either. If it somehow did manage to get in there it might be uncomfortable but you’d just clean it when you got around to it.

  6. AngieRS says:

    Well, that’s knocked a holiday by the seaside on the head for a lot of kids.

  7. Harry says:

    The medical excuses always sound like the idea of extracting a tooth instead of filling it.

  8. James Loewen says:

    When wearing clothes in the desert the least likely place sand is going to get is under the foreskin. Far more likely one would get sand in their eyes. What then, cut off the eyelids?

    Forced circumcision of children is child abuse, constantly looking for excuses. The “sand excuse” is pathetic, as are all the others.

    What must be understood when discussing circumcision, is the psychological motivation of those who insist that others be cut, just as they were.

  9. Alan C says:

    James Loewen
    “Far more likely one would get sand in their eyes. What then, cut off the eyelids?”

    Sew them shut surely?

  10. remigius says:

    Oh for fucks sake. Scientists have just successfully landed a mobile laboratory on another planet, and yet these cretins are still arguing about mutilating little boys willies to appease their gods.

    Just plain crazy!

  11. barriejohn says:

    Someone commented on another site that the opponents of “gay marriage”, rather than being honest (it was a bishop whose remarks had been reported, so what did he really expect?) and saying “Our holy book says it is wrong”, were coming up with all sorts of quite ludicrous arguments to support and justify their doctrinaire stance. My reply was that this is exactly what they do with “creation”, and it is also the case here. They have a predetermined position and then scratch around for facts to back it up – the very antithesis of the scientific method, yet they can’t see that. Don’t you remember Physics experiments, when you knew what the result was meant to be and made sure that your measurements were going to give you just that figure within a reasonable margin (not spot on, of course – that would have looked far too suspicious)? Don’t tell me that we were the only ones who did that!

  12. Broga says:

    I find the arrogant look of that Rabbi unsettling. Imagine your baby son is lying there and that man, his head full of weird superstitions, is hoving into sight to “oversee” the abuse about to be inflicted on your baby son.

  13. Barry Duke says:

    Off topic I know, Remigius, but an interesting fact about today’s landing of Curiosity was sent to me this morning by one of our correspondents, Trevor Blake, who wrote:

    “Years ago I put my name in a list that was burned onto a tiny chip and placed aboard Curiosity. You may now boast that The Freethinker has editorialists on two world.

    “Because Curiosity is in the news, a little history. Metal from the wreckage of the World Trade Center was used on previous Martian landers Spirit and Opportunity.”

    “As I wrote years ago…

    ‘I think of this as a fitting FU to the Muslim world: hey, while
    you’re busy trying to re-create the 14th century, we’re going to go ahead and explore other planets. You go have fun, okay?'”

  14. Matt Westwood says:

    “Don’t you remember Physics experiments, when you knew what the result was meant to be and made sure that your measurements were going to give you just that figure within a reasonable margin (not spot on, of course – that would have looked far too suspicious)?”

    Sorry, I have to confess I measured what I saw and if I got the wrong result then fuck it, I didn’t give a shit, as long as I wrote it up accurately. Fact is I usually got the right result, near enough, and when I didn’t get the “right” result it turned out there was a reason for that, and all the fuckers who fudged their results got an F. Turned out that such discipline served me well in my career.

    So the moral of the story is, ye cannae change the laws of physics, Cap’n …

  15. barriejohn says:

    Wow, Matt – you were such a paragon of virtue!

    I’ve just come across this report (on other sites as well):

  16. barriejohn says:

    I think this comment really does take the biscuit, if he’s being serious!

    Find someone who has been circumcised who regrets it or wishes or otherwise. Nope, looks like you just want power over other people, that’s all.

  17. Broga says:

    @Barry Duke: While my ability in maths, physics or chemistry is very poor I am fascinated by Curiosity and thinking about the wonders and magnitude of space and time is what I regard as a transcendant experience. I find it absolutely stunning that we can see, in detail, a rock on Mars and know that we clever apes are looking at something that exists at this very moment on another world.

    I think Bertrand Russell said that when he became depressed he found solace in contemplating the stars and the perspective they gave to human life. It works for me and I’m lucky in that I live in an area unpolluted by light and I can see them. How sad that many people live in thrall to a narrow, constricted superstition that makes them believe the world was created 6,000 years ago.

  18. Angela_K says:

    Broga. The wonderful thing about science is that the further you look, the more there is to discover, that is why it trumps the short-sightedness and closed minds of the religious. My argument against the anti-science brigade is that if we don’t “look” or do the experiment, we’ll never know. Science is a continuous process, published and peer reviewed versus some old books of fairy-tales – no competition really but the religious just refuse to shed their blinkers.

  19. Broga says:

    @Angela_K.: You are so right. I know that it is a bit off topic but I just love the idea of a billion plus stars in the Milky Way and a billion plus galaxies. String theory and multi verses – I love ’em and if they are proven to be wrong then they will be replaced by something else. More earthly and personal: I’m fascinated by the developing neuro science that the self is an illusion. Indeed if you get into this it provides, as I see it, a far better comfort in facing death than religion ever good.

  20. RussellW says:


    Another OT.

    I hope Trevor Blake wasn’t referring to Europe’s 14th century which was actually relatively progressive, particularly compared with Islam’s current 14th century.

    Curiosity is now on Mars because of developments that started in the late Middle Ages.

  21. Robster says:

    Perhaps circumcision should be banned until the child is mature enough to make an informed decision. Simple really…

  22. RabbitOnAStick says:

    How can a logical rational honest human being tolerate this? These people are incapable of sensible debate and throw up ridiculous stupid ‘medical’ theories to justify mutilation. As to the religious ‘reasons’ well ……….. to cut a babies foreskin and then suck it off with their mouths in the belief that an omnipotent omnipresent being told them to do it is the most stupid cretinous facile ‘belief’ and behaviour ever.

    I wish all these people would go live on Mars. Id be happy to pay for some one way tickets.

    As to sand under the foreskin – hilarious! this is just nonsense. I lived in the Middle East for ten years. My two boys being born there. Not one grain of sand got under their foreskin. And the place is full of sand.

  23. RabbitOnAStick says:


    you are absolutely correct. Let the adult decide if he wants to be a Cavalier or a Roundhead.

    But performing this when he has no choice is just disgusting and nonsensical.

  24. JohnMWhite says:

    Somebody from Scotland wrote in defense of circumcision, then revealed, to the shock of no-one, they had been circumcised themselves. It really seems to be a common thing, that ego-driven need to justify the abuse done to their own bodies by insisting that the same fate befall other children. The cycle has got to stop.

    I’ve never got sand in my foreskin, but I have got it in my nails. It’s a little uncomfortable, until I brush it out. Should I have had my nails removed instead? All the justifications for circumcision are ludicrous, and belie the fact that it was only started because religious nutjobs decided it was important to their god that they be allowed to play around with the genitals of infants. Any ‘scientific’ justification that comes along is post-hoc and therefore irrelevant to the rather dubious purpose of the practice. They’re not only pissing on our boots and calling it a rain storm, they’re then insisting that it’s ok because urine is good for the leather according to some rumour they heard once.

  25. Lynn says:

    The Rabbi is clearly lying through his teeth. First of all, circumcision has a 100% complication rate: bleeding, scarring, and loss of natural function occur in every circumcision. So, there is no such thing as a complication-free circumcision. Secondly, he claims nothing bad has ever come of a circumcision performed by him and then he claims “Oh… well, there was this one time…” If there’s one, there’s more. There’s always more. This guy has no medical degree and he really expects us that he has performed surgery on 1,000 people and none of those surgeries ever resulted in even a tiny little problem? How stupid does this Rabbi think we are?

  26. Lazy Susan says:

    From Jewish Chronicle:

    In Norway, plan hatched for ‘symbolic’ circumcision

    Norway’s ombudsman for children’s rights has proposed that Jews and Muslims replace male circumcision with a non-surgical ritual.
    Ervin Kohn, President of the Oslo Jewish Community, said: “Circumcision is a religious mitzvah, it is a commandment, it is the most important Jewish factor we have. The Jewish community can not remain in existence if circumcision is banned.”

    I am astounded that circumcision is “the most important Jewish factor.” Not education, not worship, not health, not even Israel. Perhaps he is exaggerating? Also, from my recent reading of Jewish history it was only adopted as a commandment by the Maccabees. (Nice job that, deciding what is and is not a commandment.)

  27. Matt Westwood says:

    My religion demands that I rip out the jugular veins of political right-wingers with my teeth and spray their families with their blood, then eat the heart raw. There’s no way they’re going to ban that.