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Is Banning Circumcision Anti-Semitic?

Jewish cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen has written a provocative new column about a controversial ballot measure in San Francisco that would ban circumcision for males under 18.

My buddy, Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen, has written this column about a controversial November ballot measure in San Francisco that would ban circumcision for males under 18.

Yaakov Kirschen / PoliticalCartoons.com (click to view more cartoons by Kirschen)

A bill to ban circumcision of all males under the age of 18 will be on the ballot in San Francisco this November. This is alarming because circumcision of all males is the single most basic ritual of Judaism. Banning circumcision is a direct attack on the practice of Judaism, even if it is presented as having other motives. In fact, history shows us that viral anti-Semitism always comes to town in disguise, usually portraying its motives as a need to protect innocent victims from demonic Jews.

In the past, violent lynch mob pogrom attacks on Jews and Judaism were launched to protect the peasants and townsfolk from Jews who had “poisoned the wells.” The Nazis were just trying to protect racial purity. More recently, Jew-hatred has been packaged as an attempt to protect the “Palestinian” natives from the evil colonialist Jewish State, and now, in 21st century California, the attack on Judaism is being promoted as protecting Jewish babies from their demonic Jewish parents.

A second characteristic of the behavioral virus we call anti-Semitism is its compulsive use of cartoons in spreading its libels. Anti-Semitic movements from Nazism to Fascism to Stalinism to contemporary Islamism all share a surprisingly intensive use of anti-Semitic cartoons in their campaigns. And so it is with the framers of the anti-circumcision bill.

The bill was written by a private non-profit organization based in San Diego, California with chapters in sixteen states. It is led by someone named Matthew Hess. Their goal is a nation-wide ban on the practice of circumcision and, sure enough, Matthew just could not resist the compulsion to draw

Foreskinman features a blond-haired, Aryan-looking superhero that "rescues" a baby from a fiendish Rabbi named Monster Mohel (click to enlarge).

those standard Nazi blood-libel caricatures of fiendish Rabbis sacrificing innocent babies. Hess, to push his campaign for the anti-circumcision bill, wrote and edited a propagandizing comic book called “Foreskinman.” The work is incredibly rich in Nazi ideology and filled with vile anti-Semitic imagery. The shockingly blatant anti-Semitism of the piece was so obvious that, in response, the woman who had been a proponent of putting the same bill onto the ballot in Santa Monica has now withdrawn the measure from consideration.

The comic book stars a blond, Aryan-looking superhero that interrupts a circumcision ceremony, beats up the fiendish, grinning Rabbi (named Monster Mohel), thrashes the Rabbi’s machine gun-toting Jewish accomplices, and takes the Jewish baby from his Jewish father. The child’s father shouts “Give me back my son” but our Nordic hero flies the terrified baby off to safety.

The baby, now rescued from the Jews, is taken on a two-day trip to a group of beach-dwelling pagans… and given to them. As the pagan woman who has been given the stolen Jewish baby announces at the end of this touching saga, she is now free to “raise him as one of our own.”

The history of the attempts to destroy Judaism is punctuated with anti-circumcision laws. In 167 BC the Syrian Greek occupiers of the Land of Israel banned circumcision. A few hundred years after that the Romans occupiers of the Land of Israel banned circumcision in their attempt to destroy Judaism. The Nazis banned circumcision, as did the Stalinists. Banning circumcision is simply a synonym for banning Judaism.

And while we’re at it, here’s a question for you. Why does the Christian calendar start on Jan. 1? Shouldn’t the Christian calendar start on Dec. 25? … the day of Jesus’ birth? What made Jan.1 so important? It’s simple. Jan. 1 (when baby Jesus was 8 days old) was the day of his circumcision.

Yaakov Kirschen is a political cartoonist and columnist for Cagle Cartoons Inc. Read more of Kirschen’s columns here, and check out his cartoons here.

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

8 replies on “Is Banning Circumcision Anti-Semitic?”

This all really hangs on the subtle difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. I’m certainly opposed to anti-Semitism or for that matter really any form of racism. But to me anti-Judaism is the opposite and its not about attacking the Jews but about saving them from the evils of religion.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share a common root and all have monstrous crimes in their past. Comparatively the Christians are the worst but then they have been by far the biggest and most powerful. Then there is Christian anti-Semitism, I have briefly studied the roots of Nazi anti-Semitism and the primary core was almost certainly in German Christianity. Actually though Christianities greatest crime is that they held back the progress of human culture and civilization for over a thousand years (only ending with the real death of Christian power).
Islam’s crimes are similar but slightly smaller, for instance about things like the suppression of women and the creating of repressive cultures that again stopped any real development in most Islamic areas for many centuries.
Judaism’s crimes are similar but smaller again, at least in its recent crimes. – Judaism did teach Christianity some of its more repressive behaviours like regarding women as inferior, and giving it a brutal savage arbitrary justice system, or that people of other religions should be repressed or crushed or destroyed (again all three share this).

The real crime all three still commit today is the indoctrination and brainwashing of their own followers effectively giving them no choice unless they manage to break their own programming. Babtism and circumscision are a metaphysical sacrifice of the child to the God and create a very strong link in the persons ‘sub-conscious’ mind that is almost impossible for them to break later.

The greatest irony is that politicians always talk about America being Christian, yet America believes in freedom of speech, democracy, equality, the right to question authority – all things that are all profoundly anti-Christian (and anti-Judaistic and anti-Islamic as well).

Anyway the point of all this is that I would like to see circumcision – not banned – but abandoned….

Baloney!  The issue here is a bunch of folks who want to tell other people how to rear their children to a (wiser) government standard.  Obviously these misguided parents need the firm hand of more intellectual atheists to put the children on the proper track, and San Francisco is surely the place to start. 

You are right about one thing though, it is not about anti-Semitism.  It is about the liberal elite trying to establish  their goals through a “We know what’s best” mentality.

“Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share a common root and all have monstrous crimes in their past…”

Really? Let’s see, Christianity and Islam have the Inquisition, the Crusades, the murder of millions in forced conversions, the blood libel… Okay, fair point.

Judaism? What did they ever do? There has never been more than 20 million of them at any one time, and they only ruled a tiny piece of land in the Middle East in antiquity for a couple of centuries. The rest of their history is one of wandering around, trying to stay alive. Pray tell, what are these monstrous crimes?

I think what you have done here is to have taken your own dislike for organized religion, and lumped all religions into a category marked ‘monstrous.’ Perhaps the Jews would have been as bad as any other ethos given numbers and power, but they never had either. Citing any breaches of modern Israel as examples of Jewish crime would be as inaccurate as citing any American or British action as Christian crime. I find it both perverse and ironic that, since Jews were usually one of the VICTIMS of the crimes of religion (Crusades, et al), that they should now be tossed into the category of purveyors of these “monstrous crimes.”

As far as the debate over circumcision goes, there is a distinction that needs to be made. FEMALE genital mutilation, which is not required ANYWHERE in the Koran, is the removal of the clitoris for the sole purpose of reducing/removing the female sex drive, and thus lowering the risk of adultery. Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin, and is THE fundamental, basic first commandment of the Jewish religion, establishing the covenant with God. the removal in no way alters the sex drive, or diminishes the possibility of procreation or enjoying sex. In a way, the female ‘version’ is like a ritual requiring the removal of a limb or other needed body part for ritual purposes, while the male ‘version’ is like the requirement of a tattoo or a specific haircut for ritual purposes.

I can fully understand and appreciate those modern thinkers who find all ancient religions to be antiquated relics, created by man, and full of ideas that should be relegated to the scrapheap of history, especially when compared to modern social standards. However, I would ask all such modern atheists this: Are you prepared to FORCE all religious practitioners to abandon their cherished faiths? I won’t even get into  the side debate of the nature of regimes that attempted this, such as the USSR, or Communist China. I just want to know if you are ready to attempt to use legislation and force to nibble away at other people’s religious freedom, even in pursuit of what you consider to be a superior idea? A religious Jew CANNOT “wait until he is 18 and decide for himself” if he wants circumcision, because the religion categorically commands that the Brit Milah (the covenant) occur on the child’s 8th day after birth. This isn’t a minor or obscure religious concept, it is absolutely central and fundamental to Judaism. Those who think that asking that it be banned or even delayed is a small thing to ask need to understand that they may as well ask Jews to abandon their religion – it is THAT basic to the faith.

Yes sorry you are absolutely right. Judaism doesn’t really have any crimes of note, certainly not compared to the Christian or Moslem orthodoxies. Nor do I deny that they have all brought a great deal of good to the world, certainly they were/are one of the main civilizing forces on human society. It has to be said though that to be a “good” person in modern society a person ends up being quite a “bad” person in terms of most the old religions. Who among us wouldn’t go to hell – be burnt at the stake at a strict interpretation of Christian, Jewish, or Islamic scripture?

On this law I am certainly not an advocate of that, when I said ‘abandon’ I meant to imply ‘ONLY if they choose to do so themselves’.

I am a true liberal in that I generally believe that people should be given their own choices over things like this and not be always compelled by the law. However as part of my scientific work I have studied propaganda and brainwashing in detail and from this perspective most people really have very little choice over these things even though they are physically free to choose. From the free-thinking perspective religion does often look rather like a pair of slaves manacles.  Again, in this area Judaism generally seems a much lesser sinner than the Christian churches or Islam. I suppose the people who worry me are the extremists not the liberals no matter what religion they follow.

Demanding “freedom” for yourself is commonplace and understandable.  Recognizing and demanding freedom for others, including those with whom yhou disagree, isn’t so easy.

This is an unnecessary initiative on the San Francisco ballot and also goes again the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Even if it is passed it will not stand.

Whether the measure is anti-semitic isn’t even the issue.  It’s also anit-Moslem and against the teachings of some Christian faiths.  It is poorly thought out and basically stupid to even suggest such a measure, no matter how strongly you believe in the pseudo health benefits of the procedure.

Demanding “freedom” for yourself is commonplace and understandable.  Recognizing and demanding freedom for others, including those with whom yhou disagree, isn’t so easy.

This is an unnecessary initiative on the San Francisco ballot and also goes again the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Even if it is passed it will not stand.

Whether the measure is anti-semitic isn’t even the issue.  It’s also anit-Moslem and against the teachings of some Christian faiths.  It is poorly thought out and basically stupid to even suggest such a measure, no matter how strongly you believe in the pseudo health benefits of the procedure.

In the United States we consider Female Circumcision barbaric.  Why is the practice of Male Circumcision treated so differently? The ban is on the circumcision of minors.  If an adult wants to mutilate their genitals, that is their right to free speech.  
Mutilating an infant’s genitals is not okay, the religion of the doer should have nothing to do with it, it just so happens tat the Jewish faith demands this infant mutilation.  Ritual sacrifice is not protected by the 1st amendment, why should this be protected? 

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