Male circumcision should be banned, just as female genital mutilation is prohibited. Jewish doctor Avshalom Zoossmann-Diskin tells West why he is fighting this ancient Jewish practice, which is also standard practice in Islam, and widespread in the United States. He says: “Male circumcision is a violation of the bodily integrity of minors, exactly like female circumcision.”
Dr Zoossmann-Diskin, who is also founder of the Israeli association, Ben Shalem, adds: “Actually, some forms of female circumcision including the most common one, the sunna, which entails cutting the clitoral prepuce, are less severe than the widely spread form of male circumcision.” However, in many societies, male genitals are not protected and are treated as if they don’t belong to the child but to the parents and their community.
Dr Zoosmann-Diskin states that “we, the children born to Jewish and Muslim parents, have exactly the same rights as children born to Christian parents. If our parents refuse to understand this simple basic principle of human rights, then Europe has to intervene and protect us within its borders.” It could do this by granting asylum to those who are escaping circumcision.
And yet, the World Health Organisation recently took the view that circumcision could help decrease the risk of HIV infection. Dr Zoossmann-Diskin believes this is just an ideological position backed “by improper cultural (USA) and religious motives”. He continues: “You don’t fight a disease by amputating healthy organs, even in cases, in which this amputation assures a great reduction in risk like in breast cancer.” Further evidence of the shaky health grounds behind the WHO’s position is that while the WHO recommends circumcision for men, it doesn’t do so for women, “despite the fact that the corresponding female tissue (the clitoral prepuce and labia minora) contain the same cells that facilitate the entry of the HIV virus”.
The strong reaction from Jews and Muslims “should not stop Europe acting to protect children from a serious violation of their physical integrity”. On the contrary, “all European countries should be encouraged to enforce the ban on male genital mutilation”. Dr Zoossmann-Diskin says that while the debate continues, “the screams, suffering and life-long damage of victims are ignored by those who should be protecting them.”