Saturday, December 13, 2008

Suit Says False Story of No Circumcision Is Libelous

The New York Times earlier this week focused on an interesting complaint (full text) filed last month in a New York federal district court. John F. Singer of Queens says that Centropa (the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation), an oral history project based in Europe, in 2005 published an article on its website about his family. The article quotes Singer's mother as saying that Singer was not circumcised as an infant. Singer notified the Center's director that this was false, but the Center published it anyway, and republished it when its website was redesigned. The quote was not removed until October 2008. Singer's mother denies making the statement quoted in the story. Singer's complaint alleges that "as a Jewish male, it is in direct contradiction to Jewish law to be uncircumcised." It goes on to allege that as a result of the false story, Singer "suffered loss of his reputation, shame, mortification and extreme emotional distress." The suit, alleging libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress, seeks an injunction and damages.