Israel protested the recent decision of the Council of Europe to call for a ban on bris milah, as President Shimon Peres on Monday sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council, Thorbjorn Jagland, asking for his intervention.
Although the 47-member Council’s resolution is not binding, there is concern that it will lead European countries to adopt the ban.
Peres reminded Jagland, who is considered a personal friend, of his record defending civil liberties, and that the resolution would be a travesty, imperiling the cultural and religious freedom the Council is dedicated to protecting.
The Israeli president’s letter follows a wave of protests from Jewish organizations in Europe and the Anti-Defamation League in the U.S.
Marlene Rupprecht, the Parliamentary Assembly’s rapporteur, denied that the measure was anti-Jewish, but rather aimed at protecting the rights of children.
“The text adopted by the parliamentarians in a vote does not intend to stigmatize any religious community or its practices. On the contrary, the Assembly calls for public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a wide consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity,” she said in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League asserted that it does indeed “target Europe’s Jewish citizens” and cautioned that implementation of such a ban “could lead to entire Jewish communities leaving Europe.”