Jewish leaders condemn Swedish party’s bid to ban non-medical circumcision

Jewish leaders condemn Swedish party’s bid to ban non-medical circumcision

Proposal put forward by members of the Center Party as International and European Jewish leaders criticise the move

Circumcision ceremony
Circumcision ceremony

Jewish groups around the world have criticised a political party in Sweden for its efforts to ban non-medical circumcision in infant boys.

The policy proposal was put forward by the membership of the Center Party, which served in government as recently as 2014, but which currently commands less than ten percent of the country’s parliamentary seats.

Despite the party’s leader this week saying she “laments” the membership’s decision, Sweden’s Jewish Central Council (JCC) reacted furiously, as did the World Jewish Congress (WJC), which is based in New York.

Swedish law already requires a qualified medical professional to perform infant circumcisions, with mohelim licensed by the Swedish National Board of Health and are joined by a nurse or a medical doctor for the procedure.

The law does not currently limit the reasons for the surgery, but in 2014 the Swedish Medical Association said 12 years should be the minimum age requirement for circumcision and that, without the consent of the patient, it cannot be performed.

WJC president Ronald Lauder said a ban would be illegal, arguing that it was “tantamount to decreeing an end to the future of religious life in Sweden”.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), said: “The Swedish Centre Party’s decision to promote a ban on religious circumcision is a request for Jews to leave Sweden, the most liberal of EU states. We mourn the lack of tolerance and loss of diversity in today’s Sweden”.

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