Dr Joseph Spitzer is a prominent mohel, a traditional Jewish circumciser. From the Wikipedia page on mohels:
Biblically, the infant’s father is commanded to perform the circumcision himself. However, as most fathers are not comfortable or do not have the training, they designate a mohel. The mohel is specially trained in circumcision and the rituals surrounding the procedure. Many mohalim are doctors or rabbis (and some are both) or cantors and are required to receive appropriate training both from the religious and medical fields.
Traditionally, the mohel uses a knife to circumcise the newborn. Today, doctors and some non-Orthodox mohalim use a perforating clamp before they cut the skin. The clamp makes it easier to be precise and shortens recovery time. Orthodox mohalim have rejected perforating clamps, arguing that by crushing and killing the skin it causes a great amount of unnecessary pain to the newborn, cutting off the blood flow completely, which according to Jewish law is dangerous to the child and strictly forbidden, and also renders the orlah (foreskin) as cut prior to the proper ritual cut.
Under Jewish law, a mohel must draw blood from the circumcision wound. Most mohels do it by hand with a suction device, but some Orthodox groups use their mouth to draw blood after cutting the foreskin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning in 2012 about the health implications of this practice, citing 11 cases of neonatal HSV and two recorded fatalities. A 2013 review of cases of neonatal HSV infections in Israel identified ritual circumcision as the source of HSV-1 transmission in 31.8% of the cases.
Spitzer claims to have circumcised thousands of male minors – most of them, presumably, when they were eight-day-old babies – over his 35-year-long ‘career’.
Three months ago I presented papers in Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, in a bid to bring a private prosecution of Spitzer under the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). Details here.
We recently had a response from a judge at the court. As a consequence, we are now seeking individuals who are prepared to act as witnesses in my private prosecution of Spitzer. They will have no personal liabilities, and will not have to bear any costs in the unlikely event the prosecution is unsuccessful. Key points:
– we’re looking for a number of individuals, to prove a ‘course of conduct’
– they should have a date or range of dates over which they were circumcised, ideally with some documentary evidence
– the place the circumcision took place should be identified
If this bid to track down victims of Spitzer’s crimes is unsuccessful, we shall have to consider alternative options e.g. newspaper advertising asking for victims to come forward. The Jewish Chronicle refused to publish such an advertisement. Quelle surprise. And we shall post leaflets door-to-door in Stamford Hill, where Spitzer works, where there is a large population of Haredi Jews. Golders Green, too.
We plan to hold Spitzer accountable for the thousands of crimes he’s committed against innocent male minors, then we’ll focus on other genital mutilators, of all faiths and none.