Ancient Egyptian carved scene of circumcision, from the inner northern wall of the Temple of Khonspekhrod at the Precinct of Mut, Temple of Karnak, Luxor, Egypt. Eighteenth dynasty, Amenhotep III, c. 1360 BC. Photographed February 5, 2005, by Lasse Jensen
Calling the practice “a violation of human rights “ and a precursor to mental illness, Holland’s Royal Society of Medicine is encouraging the country’s parliament to place a ban on male circumcision.
Of course, such proposals come up regularly – there’s one out now in San Francisco, for instance – but they are usually the work of political groups; after all, the idea of banning circumcision is itself politically based. That it comes from a medical association, however, suggests something significantly more sinister, if for no other reason than the fact that the arguments they offer to support the measure fly in the face of actual science. In other words, doctors in the Netherlands have clearly put themselves in a position of being willing to put public health at risk in order to achieve racist, political ends – and to lie in order to do so.
And it’s not just the doctors. Indeed, the move, coming on the heels of a so-called “modified ban” on kosher and halal slaughter, demonstrates just how far Europe has come in its response to what it sees as a threat on Western democratic values posed by its growing Muslim population; increasingly, as I argued after the Norway massacre, Europe is at serious risk of transforming itself into a white, Christian supremacist state in its efforts to avoid becoming an Islamic one.
According to the Dutch medical society, for instance, circumcision — practiced by Dutch Muslims and Jews and standard procedure for almost all newborn males in the USA, can result in castration (just how many times does thathappen, I wonder?) or death; cause infections; create “mental anguish”; cause sexual problems (we all know about Einstein’s sexual issues, right?), and more. And here’s the kicker: “no medical association anywhere in the world,” they claim, endorses male circumcision for health reasons.
This, of course, is an outright falsehood, and surely they know it. In fact, the California Medical Association, faced with a similar proposal, recently wrotethe following statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee: “”From political to religious, there are many differing views on the practice of male circumcision.However, in the medical world, the CMA has long endorsed the concept of newborn circumcision as an effective public health measure.” (Italics mine.) And a 201o statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)declares that while it does not necessarily recommend routine neonatal circumcision, various trials since 2005 show that “circumcision decreases human immunodeficiency virus acquisition by 53% to 60%, herpes simplex virus type 2 acquisition by 28% to 34%, and human papillomavirus prevalence by 32% to 35 % in men. Among female partners of circumcised men, bacterial vaginosis was reduced by 40%, and trichomonas vaginalis infection was reduced by 48%.” The policy of the AAP therefore indicates a strong awareness of “evidence of long-term health benefits of male circumcision.”
Meantime, Holland’s wise doctors have yet to issue any formal statement about the far more serious problem of the country’s enormous infant mortality rate (among the worst in Western Europe) and high breast cancer fatality rate (the fourth highest in Europe, and rising).
To be sure, the KNMG, or Royal Dutch Medical Association, has not called for an outright ban on the procedure; they are far too politically clever for that. Claiming that such a ban would only put the practice into the hands of the unskilled, they have rather recommended a “change in mentality” among those groups which practice circumcision in the Netherlands – namely Jews and Muslims, those same minority groups which happen also to be affected by the ban on ritual slaughter. Because what this is really about is not health at all, but culture. As radical Muslim groups increasingly put pressure on Holland’s politicians to change policies in order to accommodate their religious preferences – from censoring art exhibitions to (speaking of medicine) requiring that female Muslims be treated only by female physicians (an effort that thankfully failed) — indigenous Dutch are responding with a stronger nationalism and a tightened grasp on their Christian roots – even to the point of mangling the truth.
Nonetheless, you have to hand it to the KNMG for ingeniousness. At a time when far-right groups push for closing Europe’s borders, when the Netherlands in particular has developed the toughest immigration laws in the West – requiring even Americans, Australians, Canadians, and other non-EU nationals (except Swiss and, ironically, Turks) to pass a citizenship course simply for a green card or long-term visa, organizations like the KNMG, along with the passage of bills against halal and kosher slaughter, offer the same outcome with none of the controversy: no one but a European Christian would want to come and live there, anyway. Call it ethnic cleansing, 21st century edition. And counting.