June 4, 2011
‘Foreskin Man’s’ anti-Semitic slam dunk in circumcision wars?
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published my op-ed about “The Circumcision Wars.” It was an interesting, if slightly awkward piece to report out, but it’s stirred up some interesting comments over at the WSJ cite.
The long and short of it is there is an movement of anti-circumcisers, “intactivists” who claim that foreskin has gotten a bad rap. They want to ban male circumcision everywhere, starting in San Francisco, and they claim the act is no different than female genital mutilation.
I know. It’s bonkers.
My op-ed focused more on the cultural and religious implications of prohibiting a covenantal act that Jews and Muslims are religiously commanded to perform. (The First Amendment issue is it’s own animal, and I largely left that alone.) Here’s a snippet:
I also mention that some critics of the anti-circumcisers have claimed this movement is at least potentially anti-Semitic. I spoke with Matthew Hess, the guy running the MGM Bill organization, which is leading the legislative fight, and I didn’t get that impression. Instead it just seemed that Hess and others were anti-religious—or at least that they didn’t respect a religious impetus for male circumcision:
“Jewish people are not the only ones who practice circumcision,” Hess said. “In fact, they are a tiny minority. It is also practiced by Muslims; it is practiced culturally in the United States by people of any religion. It is not targeted toward Jewish circumcision, and I am always puzzled to hear the first thing to come out be: Oh, this is anti-Semitic.”
Well, I wish I had seen the Foreskin Man comic before we went to press Thursday. That’s it in the above image; it turns out that Hess wrote and created the comic book. Kind of undercuts his I-can’t-believe-people-think-we-hate-Jews spiel.
I’ll let Debra J. Saunders of the SF Chronicle describe what is going on:
Jonah Lowenfeld has more on Foreskin Man here.