Tools for a circumcision procedure (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
15 February 2018
Scandinavian Jews say outlawing religious ritual ‘will guarantee’ that no community is established there
The leaders of the Jewish communities of four Nordic countries said that a bill proposing to ban nonmedical circumcision in Iceland “will guarantee” that no Jewish community is established there.
The presidents of the umbrella groups of Jewish communities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland issued the unusual warning Tuesday in an open letter to all Icelandic lawmakers in reaction to the submission last month of a bill proposing to ban all nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 in Iceland, a Scandinavian island nation of some 300,000 people with a few hundred Jews and Muslims.
Lawmakers from four parties with 46 percent of the seats in parliament, including the ruling party, co-authored the bill.
If passed, “Iceland would be the only country to ban one of the most central, if not the most central rite in the Jewish tradition in modern times,” wrote Aron Verständig, Dan Rosenberg-Asmussen, Ervin Kohn and Yaron Nadbornik in the letter.
Referencing the Nazi prohibition on brit milah, Jewish ritual circumcision, they noted: “It would not be the first time in the long tradition of the Jewish people. Throughout history, more than one oppressive regime has tried to suppress our people and eradicate Judaism by prohibiting our religious practices.”
Iceland, they added, does not have an organized Jewish community today.