Jewish Journal

Tiny Super PAC targets circumcision, Islam, red-light cameras, cremation

by Jonah Lowenfeld

February 8, 2012 | 3:22 pm

Courtesy americanphoenixsuperpac.org.

Something about the description of the American Phoenix Super PAC made me all but certain that the person behind it had some Jewish connection. It was two things, actually, both included in the Super PAC’s 23-item “statement of purpose”:

2. Ban circumcision before the age of 18 and declare the practice mutilation.

3. Declare Islam a hostile political party, not a religious organization.

An anti-Muslim intactivist pushing the boundaries of election law?

Sure enough, Michael Benjamin of Hialeah, Fla., who founded American Phoenix in order to raise money and independently support candidates who align with his agenda, is half-Jewish.

Benjamin’s Super PAC got the attention of, among others, a writer at Foreign Policy, who pointed out that his “views are a little hard to pin down on the right-left spectrum.”

No kidding. In addition to banning circumcision of boys under 18 (“it’s a choice that should be made by the man and not by his father,” he said), Benjamin’s Super PAC advocates for the revocation or revision of all American free trade agreements, the elimination of toll roads and red light cameras and doing away with pensions for all elected officials.

But he’s most concerned about what he sees as the forces of Islam that are threatening the United States.

“They have already taken over Europe,” Benjamin told me over the phone. “They are already working on the African Americans.”

“Imagine,” he continued,” if one percent of these people become radicalized.”

Benjamin grew up in Iran in a household with one Jewish parent and one Muslim one. He lived in Israel for a few years, and he now runs a company dedicated to providing deep-sea burials. The company reportedly runs the Super PAC, and some have raised questions about whether it’s legal for a corporation, even a nonprofit one, to do so. But at least the connection helps explain the first item on the American Phoenix agenda:

1. Ban cremation as a polluting, energy wasting form of departure and replace it with deep-sea burial in an effort to re-nourish the sea.

The amount of energy it takes to cremate one body, Benjamin said, could power a train from Miami to Jacksonville. And deep-sea burial provides fish and other undersea wildlife with the food they need to survive.

“I’ve seen how fish use the protein,” Benjamin said. “They would use 100 percent of it. Nothing is wasted.”

Benjamin hasn’t raised any money yet, the result, he says, of a concerted attack on his websites by his Islamic enemies.

“It shows you the level of the involvement of these people,” Benjamin said. “It’s easier to hack the pentagon than Gmail.”

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