Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
A new online course
Starting January 22nd
Register »
Contact Us

Dutch Chief Rabbi Not Alarmed by Doctors’ Circumcision Campaign

Dutch Chief Rabbi Not Alarmed by Doctors’ Circumcision Campaign

The Royal Dutch Medical Association has come out against the practice of Jewish circumcision. (File photo)
The Royal Dutch Medical Association has come out against the practice of Jewish circumcision. (File photo)

Faced with a full-on media blitz by the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) to sway public opinion against the ritual circumcision of infants, Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs is choosing a cautious route in response, emphasizing that, the views of the Netherlands’ top medical body notwithstanding, Jewish circumcision is not in danger.

For the past couple of months, KNMG has published op-eds in local newspapers discouraging the circumcision of minors when not medically necessary, and calling on politicians, insurance companies and human rights organizations to help end the practice. The effort follows the publication last year of a 20-page report by the association that urged doctors to emphasize the risks of circumcision with their pediatric patients’ parents.

But Jacobs, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary who is currently immersed in a campaign challenging a legislative push to ban kosher animal slaughter, says that the current atmosphere in the Netherlands leads him to believe that there’s no need to be alarmed.

“We’re not ignoring the situation,” he stresses. “We’ll see what happens and remain alert.”

According to Jacobs, only about 50 Jewish baby boys are circumcised each year. Though there are between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews in the Netherlands, most are older or without children.

The KNMG’s stance is contradicted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states in a policy statement reaffirmed in 2005 that “parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child.”

Jacobs is quick to point out that most of those leading the current campaigns against circumcision on the one hand, and animal slaughter on the other, could not be accused of anti-Semitic animus. In the case of circumcision, he says, the best strategy at the current time is one of quiet persuasion.

“There is no sign,” he states, “that this will be taken up by the government.”

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Yaakov Mark Brooklyn, New York via November 20, 2011

re: Stormwatch First of all I dont think your mommy calls you Stormwatch. If your man enough to post an opinion, than you should post your real name. Show us how proud you are of your opinion. Ill respond anyway. God said to for us to circumcise. Period end of debate. If you cannot argue on this premise, than you have no buisiness posting your opinion on a website that is all about Torah. If you disagree with the website, stay off of it. Ha, but the truth is this is a website that you explore. OK, so you have your doubts. Try the scientific method. Here is your Hypothesis: The Torah is 100% Factual. Now go test it out. Go to a Chabad Rabbi and start asking questions and begin your learning. I wish you the best. Stop being so angry thatyour momma circumcised you, like it is some really big deal that caused all the problems of the world. Its really silly sounding. Reply

Stormwatch Fortaleza, Brazil November 14, 2011

Re: Yaakov Mark Well, think the other way around. What if said hypothetical young man decides to follow any other religion, or to follow no religion at all -- and yet, he will forever be branded as something he does not want to be, something to which he did never consent.

So much for freedom of belief when you want to impose the mark of your beliefs onto someone else's body! Reply

Yaakov Mark Brooklyn, New York via November 11, 2011

I challenge you to post your names I feel sorry for anyone with the Gall to post on an orthodox website without their name on such an issue. Please let us know if you are a Rabbi, a Nazi, a Christian or Buddhist and what concern this is of yours. Circumcison is not going to stop just because its made illegal. Hashem is a much greater authority for one of our most important Mitzvahs. Besides can you try explaining to your 25 year old child that rediscovers their Judaism why he has to endure great pain as an adult when his parents could have done it at a time when the pain would not have been so great? That is an act of barbarism if you ask me, and also negligence on the part of the parent. People pay so much attention to the physical and none at all to the spiritual aspect of why we do this. Please leave us alone. Your ignorance is not as great as your cowardice in regards to not posting your name. Have a Good Shabbos!! Reply

Anonymous scottsdale, AZ November 10, 2011

All of you that are against circumcision and find all kind of excuses why it should not be done are self hating jews who feel the same why about other jewish traditions. Don't tell the rest of us what to do and what is good for our kids. I was born and raised in a Communist Country but my parents circumcised me and I, my son and it's what separtes us from the rest and shows our devotion to our Maker.
Love yourself and do the right thing and think and act like Jews. We have been doing this for a along time. Don't break the Tradition and make sure your boys are proud of being Jews Reply

Judy olam hazeh November 10, 2011

Female circumcision While I uphold Jewish tradition because I believe male circumcision practice has merit beyond physical effect, and that the physical effect is not harmful but in fact beneficial, the American Academy response that the parents should do what is 'in the best interests of the child', is inadequate and needs to be definitive in terms of benefit vs harm.

What if the topic under discussion was culturally-mandated female circumcision? Is the parents' judgment about what is the 'best interest' of the child adequate? Fortunately, no medical doctor would perform this surgery in the US....or is that no longer the case? Reply

NW de Kraker,MD Amsterdam, Netherlands November 10, 2011

medical association Although mdia are all talking about the "Dutch medical association"campaigning against circumcison, it was actually the director of the KNMG who wrote the article, using the title of the office.
The Association is exactly that and there has been no poll amongst the members, so the director nor anybody has ,right now,the right to speak for all its members, even if it seems so.
In the current climate , though with both Shechita and also the Mila under fire, I would not be too "quiet"; there sure is danger and it should be taken seriously, in my opinion. Reply

Anonymous Texas November 10, 2011

Circumcision If it is so dangerous, why do countless doctors offer it as an option the moment the baby is born? Doctors say that it prevents infection and is more healthy and hygenic.
Another thing-science found that blood platlets have the highest count on the eight day of the baby's life- 110%! If anything, the best time in his life to do this operation is now!
In addition, if this is unethical, then so is giving shots to children! Or operating on a child after he or she is born-there is no child consent! Reply

Ron Low Chicago, USA November 8, 2011

THOU SHALL NOT STEAL What else but THEFT is a proper description of taking healthy normal body parts when no rational informed consent can be obtained? Reply

Stormwatch Fortaleza, Brazil November 7, 2011

Face the facts: male genital mutilation, also known as circumcision, is a harmful, disfiguring, unethical procedure that has absolutely no place in any civilized society. Except for the exceedingly rare cases of medical urgency, anyone who performs it is a child abuser of the most sadistic kind. This monstrous blood ritual must be banned under the most severe penalties. Reply

Anonymous antioch, ca November 7, 2011

circumcision and the aap Actually the aap has said repeatedly including in it's publications and on facebook that infant circumcision is NOT recommended. Reply

Connect with us
In the Media
Find A Chabad Center Near You
Chabad-Lubavitch Directory