Iceland’s Proposed Ban on Circumcision Puts It at the Forefront of Western Europe’s Crusade against Religion

March 5 2018

The Icelandic parliament is currently considering a measure that would prohibit parents from having their male children circumcised. Noting that Iceland is not the first Western country to consider such a measure, Melanie Philips comments:

The Icelandic bill is drawing on increasing hostility within Europe to the practice [of circumcision]. In Britain, a survey by the National Secular Society indicates that some 62 percent want Britain to follow Iceland’s example. Nor is this the only attack on religious rites. There are also bans on ritual slaughter [of animals for food] in Denmark, New Zealand, Switzerland, and other European countries and jurisdictions.

Although these are attacks on Islam as well as on Judaism, they threaten Jewish religious life most of all. . . . Muslims are more flexible over ritual slaughter by allowing a measure of animal stunning which Jews cannot permit. Circumcision bans are most threatening of all to Jewish life because the circumcision of eight-day-old boys . . . is absolutely fundamental to Judaism. . . .

The secularists deny that their campaign against circumcision is anti-Jewish. Yet as one British commentator has observed, “some of the most virulent anti-Semitism on Twitter is obsessed with foreskins and pictures of demonic rabbis holding knives.”

The self-delusion of such campaigners is remarkable. In 2013, the leading Norwegian daily Dagbladet published a caricature of what appeared to be Jews torturing a baby during a circumcision. The cartoonist, Tomas Drefvelin, said he meant no criticism of either a specific religion or a nation but a general criticism of religions. . . .

Resistance to Islamist extremism in Britain and Europe has fueled a general climate of intolerance toward religion in general. There is now a widespread and growing view that distinctive practices marking out religious ways of life are equally divisive, threatening, or abhorrent. Yet at the same time such critics deny their target is religion.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Circumcision, Europe, Freedom of Religion, Religion & Holidays, Secularism

For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror