The German ministry of justice has drafted the bill that will allow for circumcision, amidst a wide-ranging controversy, that has even forced Chancellor Merkel to speak up against what she considered would turn Germany into a laughing stock, if Jews were not allowed to practice their religious rituals. According to the outline draft, the surgery should take place "with the most effective pain relief possible" and only after parents have been fully informed. So the new law would shift the power to make that decision from the state to the child's parents. The German opposition parties, socialdemocrats and radical left, have responded with criticism: some of them believe that the state should protect the integrity of the body. They say the right to freedom of religion applies to the baby, not its parents.
Rabbi Menachem Marg'olin sees traces of anti-semitism in this controversy. He links it to some other debates making it to the newspapers lately, like the one about the slaughtering of animals in the Netherlands, or public calls from French far-right populist Marine Le Pen to ban kippahs, arguing they are equivalent to a headscarf. Michael Emerson is an Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies. He has been studying multiculturalism in contemporary European societies. He doesn't see any threats to Jewish culture in Europe but blames European leaders for declaring that multiculturalism has failed. Emerson defends a new notion of multiculturalism. Something he calls "interculturalism". Here in Europe observant Jews have been challenged by the threat to circumcision in Germany. Now new legislation is about to be introduced, but the controversy is far from over.
Xabier Collados, JN1, Brussels.