Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Anti-Semitic Cartoon Draws Further Attention to Circumcision Ban

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When several California cities considered a ban on circumcision, Matthew Hess hoped to promote the idea by creating a comic called Foreskin Man. Allegedly intended to be a “joke” and “publicity stunt,” Foreskin Man is now being called into question as anti-Semitic propaganda. writes:

Created by Matthew Hess [the author of the anti-circumcision referendum who has a website where he pushes the bill], the first and second volumes show graphic images of monster doctors and evil Mohels fighting for “the penile flesh of an 8-day-old infant boy.” The hero, who some feel is of the Aryan variety, swoops in at the last second to save the infant's foreskin.

Conservative pundit Glenn Beck includes several pages of the comic on his website, and the sinister overtures related to the Jewish custom of circumcision are seemingly undeniable.

For example, the antagonist in the comic is Monster Mohel, described in the comic as follows:

Nothing excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy. And after the glorified brit milah is complete, the delicious metzitzah b’peh provides the icing on the cake.

Intactivists have been pressuring Monster Mohel to retire, but that will never happen. They will have to pry the scissors from his cold, dead hand.

The comic begins with the parents of an 8-day-old son giving a brief welcome speech to their friends and family who have arrived to celebrate the birth of the baby. The speech is interrupted, however, when a Rabbi named Monster Mohel bursts through the door with some ominous-looking cohorts, for some reason bearing semi-automatic weapons. The Rabbi, who is depicted as almost satanic with a threatening grimace on his face, announces he is there to perform a circumcision on the child. The mother of the child asserts that she and her Jewish husband decided not to subject their son to that procedure, but as it turns out, her Jewish husband had been concocting this plot with the Rabbi all along behind his wife’s back.

“Oh please Sarah, did you really think I was going to deprive our son of his Jewish heritage? Glick will be circumcised the same way I was and that’s that. You’ll just have to live with it,” the husband tells his wife.

The mother attempts to resist, but Monster Mohel instructs one of his goons, “Round up the guests and take them upstairs. Yerik and I will carry out the Holy Covenant.” At this point in the comic, the Rabbi is drawn to look utterly evil, with only the whites of his eyes showing.

Fortunately for the family, and unbeknownst to them, superhero Foreskin Man is in their company. As the wife is tied up and detained by one of the Rabbi’s cohorts, the father of the baby boy holds him down so that the circumcision may be performed.

The Rabbi begins, “Praised be thou, our God, King of the Universe, who hast commanded me to circumcise this child in thy name. And thank Thee, O Lord, for the joyous Metzitzah B’Peh for which I am about to partake.” Foreskin Man refers to this language as “babbling.”

Just before the cut is made, Foreskin Man takes his cue and kidnaps the baby, taking it away to some sort of commune. Foreskin Man raises the child on his own, safely away from his Jewish family.

Meanwhile, at the commune, all the stolen circumstraints [used to hold down a child during circumcision] had been “carefully mounted along the beams of a wooden structure.” Foreskin Man and his partner set the structure afire. The structure very clearly appears as a Menorah.

Even worse, upon closer inspection of the wooden structure, each block appears to have the outline of a person carved into it.

According to Pajamas Media, the comic confirms several suspicions:

As you may have heard by now, San Francisco will be voting this November on whether or not to ban circumcision in the city.

Defenders of the measure say it’s all about “human rights” and “protecting babies” from unnecessary procedures.

But critics suspected there was something vaguely anti-Semitic about the whole proposal, since among Jews (and Muslims, as well) circumcising male babies is a religious duty, not just a mistaken medical procedure.

The Blaze too believes that the circumcision ban may have been a direct attack on the Jewish custom, and believes that Foreskin Man proves it:

So, really, this has nothing to do with not liking Jews! Oh, wait. Because now there is the issue of…Foreskin Man!

Pajamas Media compared the depiction of Monster Mohel in the magazine to the German and Dutch versions of the famous 1940 Nazi film Der Ewige Jude [The Eternal Jew], “legendary as one of the most extreme examples of anti-Semitic propaganda ever made.” The resemblance is unmistakable.

Proponents of the circumcision ban contend that circumcision is a violation of human rights, seemingly ignoring the variety of health benefits associated with the procedure. Hess said of his comic, “We are not trying to be anti-Semitic. We’re trying to be pro-human rights.”

Most are unconvinced, however. The Anti-Defamation League has called the comic “disrespectful and deeply offensive.” Additionally, the Jewish Journal says that the comic “gives further credence to the accusation that so-called intactivists are in fact motivated by anti-Semitism.”

According to Hess, there were even some disagreements among those who worked on the comic. In a Twitter post, he wrote, “Yes, there has been some internal criticism of the comic. That happens when you challenge the status quo.”

As a result of the negative attention given to the circumcision ban, which has now been dubbed an attack on religious freedom, the city of Santa Monica has elected to drop the proposal. The individual behind the proposal, Jena Troutman, had originally submitted the initiative to the Santa Monica City Clerk on May 19. She has since then retracted the proposal, telling the Jewish Journal, “It shouldn’t have been about religion in the first place. Ninety-five percent of people aren’t doing it for religious reasons, and with everyone from the New York Times to Glenn Beck focusing on the religious issue, it’s closing Americans down to the conversation.”

In San Francisco, however, the circumcision ban is still scheduled to appear on the ballot in November. The ban criminalizes the circumcision of anyone under the age of 18. If it becomes law, circumcisions will be permissible only for medical reasons.

Photo: A rabbi performing a circumcision.

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