Mr McDonald himself is culture bound and does not understand the issue - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • concerned cynic
    • 22.10.13 | 21:25 (IDT)

    I had never heard of the Council for Europe until it took this decision, and assume that it is a debating club for adults. I do not support making illegal the circumcision of minors simply because the parents wish it. If it is made illegal, there should be a religious exception. That said, I am fully confident that western culture is evolving in such a way that circumcision will be increasingly seen as sexually incorrect. Customs are not immune in fact or by right from cultural evolution. I do not use any form of the verb "to mutilate" when talking about circumcision, and would welcome if this became the norm. "Furthermore, it is indicative of the continent’s continued disposition towards cultural imperialism." Cultural imperialism as you see it is inevitable outside of anarchy. The criminal code, the police, family law, economic regulation are all cultural imperialistic practices. That secular marriage does not exist in Israel strikes me as a form of cultural imperialism. Palestinians label Zionism itself as a form of cultural imperialism. Routine infant circumcision is the most controversial practice in American pediatrics, the most hotly debated topic in American mother groups in social media, and the biggest open problem in the social psychology of USA sexuality. That circumcision performed without anesthesia is traumatic, is received science. That statement does not hold for all circumcisions. That circumcised men can have a strong desire to circumcise their own sons is a fact made evident by what many American mothers reveal in social media. It was also true of my own father. "It is not uncommon to dismiss an unknown and alien practice as dangerous or cruel." This opinion is obliquely patronising. "However, in today’s society one would hope that, rather than condemning difference, governments would look to the wider international scene in an effort to understand the complete picture." This is a rather pompous way of introducing a defence of infant circumcision grounded in Realpolitik. Mr McDonald, you yourself would not accept letting international opinion decide all sorts of matters bearing on your personal life and economic situation. Likewise, I am disturbed by the idea that the Fate of the American Foreskin should be determined by geopolitics in other parts of the globe. The AAP's assertion that "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks" is flat out wrong, because the long term risks of infant circumcision for adult sexual function (never mind pleasure) are unknown, because unstudied. "As a native New York Jew, I can emphatically state that I have never felt trauma, shame or low self-esteem from the procedure." One swallow does not make a spring. The vast majority of circumcised American men are neither Jewish, nor from New York. "I have never felt it to be an impediment to me sexually and never have I come across circumcised individuals who feel differently." Rest assured that a growing number of North American men are of another view. "This, I believe, is rooted in the fact that I was raised in a society where the majority of men are circumcised." Do you agree that that fact greatly reduces the significance of your high comfort level with your own circumcision? Your Scottish experience with circumcision as a conversational topic parallels that of Francelle Wax in London 10 years ago. But her reaction to the London reaction was to become a firm defender of the intact penis. "Aversion to the practice is absolutely ingrained in Europeans..." To generalise from Scottish casual conversations to all of Europe is to draw a long bow. "In the United States, I never thought twice of the fact that I was circumcised..." This is no longer true of many Americans, especially a growing number of young women. "...and someone in need of sympathy, a trauma victim." I am sceptical that the typical Scot goes that far. "... the decision to circumcise or not carries with it both positive and negative effects." And American medicine and sexology are not honest about the negative effects. They won't even look for them. Nearly all that is known about the negative effects is known thanks to anecdotes revealed via social media. "...insecurities and anxieties over circumcision thrive in an environment where cultural minorities alone participate in the practice." Even though about 80% of adult American men are circumcised, the practice has nevertheless attracted considerable insecurities and anxieties in the USA. "...to seek a complete ban on the practice is an attempt at enforced cultural homogeneity that is fundamentally at odds with Europe both as an idea and in practice." No one calls for a complete ban. All that the COE and others have advocated is for requiring that only males who have attained their majority can be circumcised. "...what consequences that will have on their mental well-being." Men who develop psychological difficulties with their own circumcisions because of the ongoing struggle against RIC in the USA are regrettable collateral damage. The best way to reduce that collateral damage is for USA maternity wards and pediatricians to stop circumcising babies, and for American medical and popular culture to recognise that a man should decide the fate of his own penis. "... than a controlled..." There is ample anecdotal evidence that the belief that American RIC is "controlled" amounts to wishful thinking. "...and relatively minor neonatal procedure." Circumcision is not minor, because it is a major alteration of the tip of the penis, most sexual part of the male body, and the part that interacts most directly with a woman's vagina during intercourse. Ask women who've slept with both kinds of men whether the difference is minor. Circumcision can detract from normal marital sex and foreplay. Europeans now appreciate this fact, and that is why they are growing more dismayed by circumcision.

    from the article: Europe's shudder at circumcision
    First published 17:24 20.10.13 | Last updated 17:24 20.10.13
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