I think these folks are batty. There’s no comparison between male and female circumcision (which, for girls, can involve the removal of much of the external sex organs). Nor do circumcised men – who include the majority of men my age – strike me as traumatized, betrayed or sexually deprived. As for the religious question, circumcision is a serious matter. For both Jews and Muslims, it’s a covenant with God.
Which brings us to the delicate question: Is the anti-circumcision movement anti-Semitic?
“It probably touches upon being anti-Semitic,”
David Lehrer, a Jewish leader, told the Los Angeles Times.
Anti-circumcisers have dismissed the anti-Semitism issue as a slur. But now the issue has exploded, thanks to Matthew Hess. Mr. Hess, a prominent intactivist, doubles as a comic-book creator. Last week, he published a jolly little graphic novel called Foreskin Man. In it, a blond, blue-eyed Aryan-looking superhero comes to the rescue of an innocent baby who’s about to be attacked by a scissors-wielding villain named Monster Mohel. (A “mohel” is a person trained to perform ritual circumcision according to Jewish law.) The villain is depicted as a hook-nosed, black-hatted Jew straight from the Nazi propaganda heyday of the 1930s.
Mr. Hess denies his work is anti-Semitic.I disagree. Anyone who employs a stereotypical "hook-nosed, black-hatted Jew straight from the Nazi propaganda heyday of the 1930s" knows exactly what he's doing. Just as, say, Shakespeare knew what he was doing when he created Shylock (a "hook-nosed Jew" who demanded his bit of flesh, too). In modern times, though, the Jew-hater thinks if he spritzes his Judenhass with "human rights" Febreze, it won't smell as bad. He's wrong.
“We’re trying to be pro-human rights,” he said. But as a work of satire, it’s a flop. And his offensive little tract has turned the debate ugly. It has occurred to me that Mr. Hess is too young and ignorant to understand what he’s doing. But that doesn’t let him off the hook.