Circumcision debate lacks logic

Though the measure to ban circumcision is approaching the San Francisco ballot and its proponents continue to battle members of our Jewish community (“Groups mobilize as circumcision ban moves closer to ballot,” April 29), both parties are yet to present fully logical arguments regarding circumcision’s legality.

   Two topics in the parties’ arguments — religious freedom in the case of the ban opposition, and assault in the case of the ban proponents — have no place in the debate.

   While Abby Michelson Porth is correct in saying that the measure is “a direct attack on parents’ rights to make decisions,” her argument — that the “ordinance targets religion” — is irrelevant. If one permits circumcision purely on the grounds of religious freedom, should our nation similarly permit Muslim “honor killings”?

   However, Porth’s argument is otherwise effective, unlike bill proponent Marilyn Milos’ misguided argument that circumcision should be outlawed, as it is assault. The American Medical Association actually views circumcision as a beneficial medical practice.

   Additionally, in opposition to Milos’ other argument, parents can choose to circumcise children, seeing as — more radically — they can remove their children from life support.

I would hope that by Nov. 8, both parties will argue the truly relevant — then we’ll debate productively.

Danna Nozik   |   Sunnyvale


Playing both sides of U.N.

We read that the Palestinians want to have the Arab-dominated U.N. General Assembly declare that the Gaza and West Bank regions of the Holy Land are to be independent Palestinian states.

   Yet Arab states have a record of accepting favorable U.N. resolutions and rejecting resolutions they dislike.

   Recall that in 1948, the United Nations — with the rights of the Jewish people to the Holy Land guaranteed by Article 80 in its Charter — somewhat similarly declared the state of Israel to be in existence. But in this case, Arabs disliked this action and massed armies of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan — fresh from fighting with the Nazis in Europe — to destroy Israel and negate this U.N. resolution. We know Israel survived.

   Saddam Hussein ignored U.N. sanctions and Iranians similarly ignore resolutions to halt nuclear bomb construction. The Arab U.N. mindset is to use it or refuse it.

   Favorable U.N. rulings should be confined to responsible, accountable entities.

Bud Rubin   |   Palo Alto


In honor of the women

Ever since I was little, I learned about how Moses led the Israelites to freedom. Moses’ courage and bravery are stressed when we learn about this story. When I learned about the Passover story in my years of Hebrew school, the equally vital role women played in contributing to the freeing of the Israelites is merely a side note, mentioned briefly.

   The op-ed “Raise your seder cups to women of righteous courage” (April 15) gives rightfully earned recognition to the women of the Passover story who, unfortunately, get overlooked. From Miriam to Moses’ mother, Yocheved, to the Israeli midwives, the article emphasizes the role of these and other women in bringing the Israelites to freedom.

   In recognition of these women, every year for the Passover seder, my family makes sure that we place our “Miriam Cup,” with its bells and beautiful drawings, right next to our cup for Elijah. All too often, these incredibly important women are left out of the Passover story. Our Miriam Cup reminds us of their courageous contributions.

Alicia Glidden   |   Moraga