THE director of a controversial film to be shown at Oxford Town Hall has hit back at criticism from sections of the Jewish community.

A screening of the award-winning documentary 'American Circumcision' is due to be shown by Oxford Men's Group tomorrow, but a local rabbi has expressed concerns about the motives behind the production, while one activist has even suggested the film is anti-semitic.

But director Brendon Marotta has hit back at critics, labelling them 'anti-human rights activists'.

He said: "Those criticising our film have clearly never seen it, because we interview multiple Jewish men on both sides of the debate. Those against circumcision say they feel harmed by the practice, and that it was done without their consent.

"Anyone protesting our film should be considered an anti-human rights activist trying to silence Jewish men."

City councillors, anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigners and religious leaders have been invited to the free screening and debate from 7pm tomorrow.

Town hall owners Oxford City Council refused to comment, while Oxford Jewish Congregation said it could not represent its 'diverse' membership in a statement.

Oxford Men's Group did not respond when asked about anti-semitism accusations. However secretary Geoffrey Sandford said: "We are resoundingly against FGM, and invite everybody who advocates for the rights of girls to come along and show solidarity and support for the thousands of UK boys who are routinely circumcised.

"Circumcision carried out unnecessarily causes all sorts of problems (including) psychological issues, sexual health problems, erectile dysfunction, infection, loss of tissue and sensation, and in extreme cases even death."

Describing herself as a local activist, Esther Lieber called the 'anti-semitic' event 'appalling', and said she would be protesting it for 'human rights and equality'. She added that the film 'attacks our faith', before expressing fears that the event could be a 'lightening rod' for 'growing anti-semitism in Oxford.'

Prominent Oxford rabbi Eli Brackman, who admitted he had not seen the film, added: “Circumcision (Milah) has been performed for thousands of years. It is a core religious and cultural practice. Interfering with the rights of Jews and of other religions to perform Milah infringes one of the most fundamental aspects of religious freedom.

“As movements to ban circumcision have been connected with anti-semitic agendas, some may question the motives behind the making and screening of the film.”

Oxford Jewish Congregation President Alison Ryde said: "We cannot make statements on this which represent our community as this veers into political territory, and the OJC is very much apolitical. We have a very diverse membership with a wide range of views.

"Personally, I believe it’s worth noting that this film is centred on America, where circumcision is much more common in the general population. In the UK, it is practised much less outside religious groups."

Oxford Men's Group's Mr Sandford added: "Non-therapeutic circumcision is illegal being almost certainly Grievous Bodily Harm. Oxford Men's Group believes that the law should be enforced so that boys are protected from genital cutting, just as girls are. We only ever talk about genital mutilation when it happens to girls, this is not equality and the situation needs to change".