(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Council of Europe will not ban male ritual circumcision as it does female genital mutilation, the organization’s Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland wrote in a letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres. The letter came in response to Peres’s appeal over the council’s resolution against circumcision last week.
The council’s Parliamentary Assembly called male ritual circumcision a “violation of the physical integrity of children,” and voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, 78-13. Peres wrote to Jagland that male circumcision is a “fundamental element of our tradition and obligation as Jews.”
Jagland wrote that female circumcision is considered gender-based violence. “While our organization is of course fully committed to children’s rights to physical integrity, nothing in the body of our legally binding standards would lead us to put on equal footing the issue of female genital mutilation and the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons,” he wrote.