Circumcision debate in Sweden (1)

These Jewish Intellectuals – Do They Never Look in the Mirror?

By Lasse Wilhelmson

”Behind the Mask of Humanity” is the title of an article in SvD (second biggest morning daily in Sweden), 12 January 2012, written by the Jewish professor Lars Dencik. He questions former leader of the liberal party Bengt Westerberg’s motives for wishing to ban circumcision of boys in Sweden. Dencik wants us to know that, deep down, it is not out of compassion for the children that Westerberg makes his point, but distrust of Jews’ ability to take care of their children. Dencik writes:

Is it really out of consideration for our Jewish boy-babies that Bengt Westerberg, and other like-minded persons, wishes to introduce a ban against a tradition, crucial to our identity and culture? Do they really imagine the we Jews in Sweden cannot ourselves look after our children’s best interests and care for them in the appropriate manner?

This argument can of course be used against all measures undertaken by our society to protect children’s rights. There are most certainly, among those who work for children’s rights in society, individuals who exaggerate parents’ unsuitability to care for their children. But is it what this discussion is really about? Dencik answers the question himself:

They don the mask of humanity which hides a classic, colonial and contemptuous attitude towards those who belong to “the Others”, in this case the national minority of Jews in Sweden.

It is difficult to interpret this in any other way than that Denik is implying that Bengt Westerberg is driven by racism and hatred of Jews, or emotions to that effect – behind his mask. We have heard this sort of thing before, when those who have taken it upon themselves to act as spokespersons for the Jews do not get exactly what they want. Soon we’ll probably be hearing that Bengt Westerberg is also a so-called holocaust denier as he evidently does not think that the suffering of Jews always awards them special rights.

Ritual physical interference in the sex organs of boys and girls is difficult to combine with a humane approach to children, hence they should themselves have the sole right to decide whether they wish to undergo this change when they reach adulthood – hardly an unreasonable point of view when all is said and done? And regardless of whether it is carried out by rabbis, imams, state medical care, or is compatible with medical ethics. According to Jewish tradition, the rabbi sucks blood from the boy’s penis during the operation. It could also be mentioned that Swedish law forbids parents hitting their children.

Quite apart from the extent to which these operations are based on culture or religion, it is reasonable to suppose that we can discuss what is appropriate in Sweden, with our own culture and tradition of rights as the starting point. But no, apparently not, according to the next point of view, on the same page in SvD, by Lena Einhorn, well known Jewish writer and film maker. According to her article, “The demand to conform lies beneath the surface”, she tries, with the help of an anonymous Jew who does not wish to eat a ham sandwich at a meeting, to portray Bengt Westerberg, who also attended, as a contemptible person (almost anti-Semite?) when he is said to have rejoined “Next time I would like my sandwich without butter”. Quite an appropriate comment, I would think, if it is true, which we will never know. Perhaps it was just a friendly joke?

Indeed, it is fair to suppose that a person who has unusual eating habits should occasionally take responsibility for them and not rely upon “the Other”. Many of us have surely encountered similar problems when socialising with vegetarians. A triviality? Hardly when we are left wondering whether Bengt Westerberg, or anyone else, will be able to defend himself against the kind of sniping Lena Einhorn delivers? Furthermore, what sort of mentality does this sort of attack represent?

Westerberg seems to have been “killed” twice, just to make sure. How could he contest claims made by others about his innermost thoughts if not by openly stating his opinions? Or interpretations made by others of hearsay (rumours) about a sandwich incident? This is, of course, pure projection. Do these Jewish intellectuals never look in the mirror? If they did, they might find that what they dislike about themselves is exactly what they feel the need to ascribe to Bengt Westerberg, thus showing themselves as “good and righteous Jews”.

We may, of course, find Denick and Einhorn merely pathetic, but unfortunately it is worse. In fact, they demand special favours for Jews, simply because they think that what is right for Jews is morally untouchable, regardless of whether it is right for others, for example their own children who, as adults, may make the choice to no longer remain Jews.

It could be said that they apply a categorical imperative that is the opposite of Kant´s which is humanistic. The tribal orientated mentality they convey, similar to other tribal mentalities, is racist orientated and has, of course, nothing whatsoever to do with humanism. Paideia, The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, plays a significant part in the development of this mentality and received 40 million SEK from the Swedish government to start its work, a fact unknown to most Swedes and other Europeans; it plays a strategic part in teaching multi-culturalism to Europeans, according to its own director Barbara Spectre.

Most unfortunate for them, is that Denick and Einhorn do not realise that their actions can, in fact, add fuel to the fire of hatred of Jews. Jewish minority interests can never be boundless in a majority culture; it would, in extension, mean that we were faced with a dictatorship of minorities. Could this be what they really want “deep down”? However, I am still confident that not all of those who propagate “multiculturalism” or the slogan “we are all different” share this view.

And we all know the sort of debate it would have been if it were only Muslim boys who are subjected to circumcision?

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