There are many ongoing discussions about the ritual of circumcision. We could talk about its place in Jewish cultural heritage, in Islamic cultures, in gender identity and role, in social privilege and tribal participation. Serious conversations -- in Jewish communities, seminaries, and families -- about body rituals, penises, foreskins, adults, children, parents, babies, and authority already occur. It is fascinating to hear queer, sex-positive voices talking about genitals, community, and God. There is a lot to be said about a millennia-old ritual, its practice and its impact in the 21st Century.
Those conversations are happening and will continue to happen.
However, the central anti-circumcision crowd in the Bay Area has fully disqualified itself from participating in any of that conversation. They have chosen not to engage in the conversations, either among Jews or between Jews and non-Jews. Anyone allied with Matthew Hess and mgmbill.org has chosen to have a different conversation: They have declared a kind of war on the Jewish community that I couldn't have imagined. It's not that I haven't seen it before, but I haven't seen it this close, recently, this ugly, and this unabashedly Hitlerian before, and in liberal camouflage. They want to talk Aryan domination and white supremacy. They clearly don't want to talk about circumcision.
The creation of the "Foreskin Man" comic -- which would be an Onion- or SNL-style absurdity under the best of circumstances -- actually conjures Nazi and classic anti-Semitic imagery of Aryan heroes and sallow-faced, vampirical Jews. No one should have to look at this poison, but everybody needs to see it. It's that scary, that venemous.
The idea that our Jewish cultural heritage should be on the ballot for a non-Jewish majority to vote on should already terrify us. The decision not to distinguish among Jewish, Muslim, and American cultural communities -- basically subordinating two religious minorities to a Protestant American norm -- is already an anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim act. Resorting to the Eurocentric archetypes of blond Nordic goodness and dark Jewish evil, though, is a call to restore the gas chambers. (And to be sure, these people want to disrupt the practice among the Muslim community, too, but strangely, they haven't penned that comic yet. I bet that one will be hateful and vile, too, when they write it. They did, however, go anti-Jew first.)
I can't believe how I sound. I never talk this way. But I haven't seen this in my own back yard before, and certainly not seen it creeping in under the guise of liberalism. That's it. I've never seen left-wing, anti-Semitic fascist propaganda before, and it confuses me and scares me
Any organization that chooses to throw the Jewish community under the bus or to use anti-Jewish imagery to achieve its goals, cannot be trusted in anything. They are not reliable advocates for any baby boys anywhere. Abortion foes who advocate killing clinic doctors are clearly not "pro-life." Anti-circumcision activists who promote Jew-hatred are clearly not "pro-justice."
Before they get to enter a discussion about the practice of circumcision and the ritual of brit milah they need to clean up and atone for their assault on the Jewish community. The atonement needs to be way louder and more profound than their offense, and that will take them a while. Then and only then might they have a right to speak up about anything else.
Please join the real conversation about circumcision. Go to www.stopcircban.com . Stop the promotion of classic anti-Semitism in any community.