I submitted a letter today responding to Josef Joffe’s horrific op-ed in today’s print edition of the Wall Street Journal.

The original piece can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443437504577547104196343764.html.

Here is the text of the letter:

Josef Joffe (op-ed, July 27) could not be more wrong. Circumcision is not required by either the Muslim or the Jewish religions. Plenty of Jewish and Islamic sons grow up and become full participants in their religious communities without undergoing a harmful and painful procedure.

Others have argued–as Joffe does–that circumcision is a vanishingly unimportant issue relative to female genital cutting. However, a growing number of scholars are questioning this previously received wisdom. Regardless, two wrongs do not a right make especially when that right is the human right—barring any compelling reason—to reach adulthood with the whole body with which one entered the world.

Even in the US, where medicalized circumcision started as a Victorian anti-masturbation measure and until recently was the cultural norm, only an extremely small number of men choose to be circumcised as adults, suggesting that the foreskin’s owner does not consider it such a minor issue.

J. Steven Svoboda, J.D. (Harvard, honors), M.S. (Berkeley)
Executive Director
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child
Berkeley, California