Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Complications... what complications?

After a long break, here's another letter. Again not published - and several months old - but worth sharing as it reveals the dishonesty which underlies ritual male circumcision. It responded to a Daily Telegraph article, 'Don't Compare Male Circumcision to FGM', by Milah UK Co-Chairman Simon Hochhauser, which responded to Neil Lyndon's call for a 'proper debate' on circumcision.

Dear Sir,

In seeking to play down the risks of Jewish circumcision, Hochhauser of Milah UK cites a 0.2%-0.4% risk of neonatal circumcision complications, and claims this might be lower still if the surgery were 'responsibly carried out' (a bizarre assertion considering that the data comes almost entirely from US hospitals, and the most significant study (Christakis et al) acknowledges under-reporting). 

However audit data from the doctor members of the UK Association of Reform and Liberal Mohelim (cited on the website of one of their London members [1] ) shows that around 5% of circumcised UK Jewish newborns suffer persistent bleeding requiring follow-up, a significant infection, or a botched cut which is likely to require further further surgery.

So the reality for Jewish boys is around 25 times more complications than Hochhauser wants to admit. And that's even without a mention of the severe meatal stenosis which is found years after neonatal circumcision in 1 in 5 boys [2]. 

Milah UK's website claims they exist to provide 'reliable information' about Jewish circumcision, but the reality is precisely the opposite. This is an organisation which exists to protect a prehistoric blood ritual; truth is not on their agenda.



This is no isolated example of false information about brit milah complications. Consider  the mathematically impossible claims made by Zoltie and Cohen in the 1990s or, more recently, Rabbi Lexner's memory loss regarding the life threatening complications he'd caused... And note these are no random individuals - Lexner is a key player in the campaign to keep forced male circumcision legal in Denmark, and Zoltie is a mohel and A&E consultant who was called as the expert witness in the Goodluck Caubergs case.

There's a lot more to be said about Hochhauser's article, and the misleading information to be found on the Milah UK website. But perhaps more importantly it's time the WHO was challenged on the clear bias and misinformation in its documentation on male circumcision. I'll do this in a further post, and I promise it won't take me two and a half years.

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