Red Lines Follow-Up, Iceland

May 17, 2019

Eja director of public affairs was meeting the director of human rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives from the human rights ministry in Reykjavík this morning to discuss Jewish red lines with a particular focus on recent Icelandic parliamentary efforts to outlaw and criminalise Brit Milah (male circumcision).
In an open and frank dialogue, it was clear that circumcision is very much an alien concept to Icelandic people, but there is no Antisemitic motivation behind it. It is just not on their radar whatsoever. When Alex explained that nonetheless such legislation can be used as an enabling tool by those who espouse antisemitism they were receptive to this message. There is more work needed with political parties to get this message through, but it was a good start with Icelandic government officials.

Additional Articles

Bill to ban circumcision introduced in Iceland’s parliament

Legislation claims the practice violates children’s human rights, places them at risk of infection and causes ‘severe pain’

Lawmakers from four political parties in Iceland introduced a bill in parliament that would ban the nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 and impose imprisonment of up to six years on offenders.
Members of the ruling Left Green Movement, the Progressive Party, People’s Party and the Pirate Party submitted the bill to the Albingi on Tuesday, the RUV news site reported. Together, the parties account for 46 percent of the parliament’s 63 seats.
The measure cites the prohibition of female genital mutilation in 2005, arguing a similar prohibition is necessary for males. The report did not say when the bill would come to a vote.
Advocates of male circumcision, which many physicians believe reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and genital infections, have long objected to the comparison of the practice with female genital mutilation, a custom with no medical benefits that is universally viewed as detrimental to the ability to derive pleasure from intercourse.

The bill calls the circumcision of boys younger than 18 a violation of their human rights, according to the news site, and says it places them at an elevated risk of infection and causes “severe pain.”

Throughout Scandinavia, the nonmedical circumcision of boys under 18 is the subject of a debate on children’s rights and religious freedoms. The children’s ombudsmen of all Nordic countries — Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway — released a joint declaration in 2013 proposing a ban, though none of these countries has enacted one.
In the debate, circumcision is under attack from right-wing politicians who view it as a foreign import whose proliferation is often associated mostly with Muslim immigration. And it is also opposed by left-wing liberals and atheists who denounce it as a primitive form of child abuse.
In 2012, a German court in Cologne ruled that ritual circumcision of minors amounted to a criminal act. The ruling was overturned but triggered temporary bans in Austria and Switzerland.
A similar debate is taking place across Western Europe about the ritual slaughter of animals, which is illegal in several European Union member states.
Iceland, which is not a member of that bloc, has a population of approximately 300,000, including several dozen Jews and a few hundred Muslims.
The article was published on The Times of Israel

EJA Whatsapp antisemitism hotline

Been subjected to an antisemitic incident?
Call or text our new Whatsapp antisemitism hotline: +32 484 999 111
Send us a message, day or night, and we can provide help and assistance from your local community and law and order services.

Don’t suffer in silence. We are here for you.
The EJA, in an effort to mitigate the worst effects on Jews across Europe of rising antisemitism has set up a continent-wide dedicated antisemitism whatsapp hotline.
Those who have been subjected to an antisemitic incident can report, day or night, and the EJA will respond with not only support, but with practical help such as direct contact with national authorities and local Jewish community back-up.
We encourage you to share this number with your local community and spread the news- you have someone to turn to in times of trouble.

Jewish communities under #COVID19

In these challenging times of #COVID19 , when we are all facing personal difficulties as well as community and global ones, the EJA is here to listen.
We have been receiving a lot of emails, messages and videos from Jewish communities all over Europe, sharing their concerns and challenges but also sending messages of hope and tips for coping.
If you feel like sharing your thoughts with us you are more than welcome to. you can send your videos to info@ejassociation.com or by whatsapp to 0032483362607

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.

For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Column NIW 38 GB
Sara wants to tell her husband something positive and something negative. What do you want to hear first, she asks him? Start with the good news, her husband replied. Well, Sara enthuses, your Lexus’airbags worked very well. After two weeks holiday of writing my diary, I also have something positive and something negative to say. I'll start with the negative. I had to go to England for a few days. The reason why is irrelevant, but I want to share the corona bombardment surrounding this trip. The ferry ticket was easily booked, but then the test circus started. I checked online which test is required to cross the sea. €130 PCR. Afterwards, the test of €39 turned out to be sufficient. I had to be at the test site at 11:05 am, preferable not earlier. I was there at 11:04, but had to queue until 12:15! Two days later, after lengthy paper statements about testing, whereabouts and quarantine, I was in London. Four times a day I got a call from the local authority asking how I was feeling and where I was. They also send inspectors to check us at the door every other day. And then back home again. I expected the return journey to be easy as I am Dutch and fully vaccinated. Mais non! I was bombed by text, WhatsApp and email by the Ferry company. I had to have an urgent reason, which officially falls under the exceptions, to be allowed to return home. My full vaccination was not recognized as I am entering Holland from England and I had to have a negative PCR test less than 24 hours old. The latter was a difficult one, because my ferry left at 11 p.m. So, I could only go to a test location the next morning, on the day of departure, but I would receive the results after 24 hours, not earlier. I was quite upset about it. It seemed like mission impossible. After a few days in England and five tests with negative results, I was back in Holland. At the border I was kindly welcomed by our Royal Military Police. I just had to show my ID. No test results and not even my app showing that I’m vaccinated. That friendly “welcome back to the Netherlands and have a nice” made me forget all threatening emails, text messages and WhatsApp’s in no time and therefore my quarantine after returning passed without any emotional problems. Which shows the importance of a few kind and
friendly words!

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