The proponents of San Francisco’s controversial ballot measure to ban circumcision of boys under the age of 18 have stepped up their attack on the practice’s religion aspects, in the form of a comic book. San Diego activist Matthew Hess says that he created his comic series, “Foreskin Man,” as a way to boost the national effort to ban circumcision, which is practiced on infants by Jews and on older boys by Muslims. There are also significant numbers of Christian and secular parents who choose to circumcise their sons.
The imagery in these comic books, however, is clearly anti-Semitic. The comic strip’s villain is a mohel, a Jewish official who specializes in ritual circumcision, who breaks into a San Diego home and attempts to forcibly circumcise a baby boy, before being stopped by the blond-haired, blue-eyed superhero, Foreskin Man.
“The (Monster) mohel has a dark complexion, hook nose and is practically drooling at the thought of apparently doing harm to a child,” said Nancy Appel, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, according to the Associated Press. “He even has claws on his fingertips. He is blood thirsty just like the grotesque Jewish stereotypes that appeared in Nazi propaganda. It’s absolutely a direct parallel.”
Hess, however, denies the fact that the imagery was intended to be anti-Semitic. Instead, he says that anyone who “[cuts] into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy” is bound to be a disturbing, villainous character.
Although the federal government may shut the attempted circumcision ban down on the grounds that it is a “deeply important ceremony for two major religions” and the ban would violate their freedom of religion, the ugliness of this anti-circumcision propaganda is breathtaking. While the medical benefits of circumcision are debatable, the fact that it is a crucially important ceremony for one of the oldest religions in the world means that there is absolutely no way that Hess didn’t know what the implications of his comic book imagery would be. This kind of advocacy is racist and totally unacceptable.
Photo from Aesop's Flickr photostream.