"Mayor de Blasio…is either hopelessly naive or so cynical that he’s knowingly selling children’s lives in exchange for a bloc vote. Either way, the public needs to send him a clear message that we value the safety of New York’s children over his desire to win the next election."
Writing in the Jewish Week about the dangerous haredi circumcision practice metzitzah b'peh (MBP; the direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking done by many haredi mohels after cutting off the baby's foreskin), Ben Hirsch, a co-founder of Survivors for Justice, makes many of the same points FailedMessiah.com has repeatedly made about the new deal between haredi rabbis and the de Blasio administration.
• Hirsch notes this new deal is essentially the same deal haredi rabbis made in 2006 and then immediately violated.
• He points out that a top Satmar rabbi agrees that most adults have herpes and that banning every mohel who does would create a mohel shortage. Therefore, the rabbi believes, no mohel should be banned unless it can be proved he sickened a particular child.
And then Hirsch notes:
…De Blasio defends his proposal and argues that, given his new relationship of “trust” with the charedi rabbis, this time they will comply and identify to health authorities mohels who have infected infants with herpes. Our experience with rabbis protecting child molesters has shown the extent they will go to protect from secular authorities even the most reviled within the community. It is safe to say that — at a minimum — this same level of protection will be afforded prominent mohels.
On the issue of prosecuting charedi sex offenders, [Agudath Israel of America's executive VP Rabbi Chaim David] Zwiebel, was quoted in an October 2009 New York Times article headlined “Orthodox Jews Rely More on Sex Abuse Prosecution” as saying that “prosecutors should recognize ‘religious sensitivities’ by seeking alternatives to prison, to avoid depriving a family of its breadwinner” and “should be careful not to be seen as making a power grab from rabbinic authority.”
Does de Blasio truly believe these same charedi rabbis who refuse to allow child molesters to be reported lest they be imprisoned and lose their jobs, will cause well-respected mohels to lose their livelihood by reporting them to the authorities?
If, as the mayor says, he “absolutely believe[s] in” the “very firm commitment” he received from these rabbis why hasn’t he asked — as a demonstration of good faith — that they identify the mohels already responsible for sickening 17 infants with herpes, killing two of them and leaving others with permanent brain damage? Why must we wait for these particular mohels — whom we know to be carrying the herpes virus — to sicken or kill more children before asking the supposedly newly cooperative rabbis to identify them?…
Labeling as religious ritual an act known to be killing and maiming infants cannot make it legal. Mohels and parents who subject 8-day-old infants to the life-threatening practice of MBP could be charged — under existing statutes — with negligent homicide or manslaughter if the baby dies.
And if their rabbis continue protecting them, they could be charged with obstruction of justice.
Rabbis and mohels have a high tolerance for injury inflicted on helpless children yet will have zero tolerance when they are the target.(Mohels will not perform MBP if they even suspect the infant may have an infection or disease that could potentially harm the mohel.) If prosecuted, rabbis would again declare the ritual unacceptable under Jewish law — as was done 180 years ago by the most prominent charedi sages of the era — and immediately authorize several medically safe alternatives already sanctioned under Jewish law.
Mayor de Blasio has demonstrated a serious lack of leadership. He is either hopelessly naive or so cynical that he’s knowingly selling children’s lives in exchange for a bloc vote. Either way, the public needs to send him a clear message that we value the safety of New York’s children over his desire to win the next election.