7 Jun 2011

Campaign to ban circumcision in San Francisco spreads to San Diego with comic book considered anti-Semitic



Los Angeles Times  -  June 6, 2011

Campaign against circumcision evokes images of anti-Semitism


Anti-Defamation League criticizes "Foreskin Man" comic book, in which a superhero battles villains dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews. Author Matthew Hess says he is merely in favor of human rights.


By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times



The image of a bearded, black-hatted Jew with an evil grin and a bloody blade seems straight out of the annals of classic European anti-Semitism.

In this case, however, it is straight out of the pages of a comic book that landed in the middle of a campaign to outlaw circumcision in San Francisco for males under the age of 18. "Foreskin Man," featuring a blond, buff hero who battles dark, evil Jewish characters, has added a strange and possibly sinister element to the November initiative campaign, which was already heated.

The Anti-Defamation League, which was established to fight anti-Semitism, issued a statement Friday calling the book's publication "an advocacy campaign taken to a new low." A spokeswoman for San Francisco's Jewish Community Relations Council called it "outrageous."

"Foreskin Man" was written and created by Matthew Hess, a key figure behind the initiative to ban circumcision, the ritual cutting of foreskin on a baby's penis that, in the Jewish religion, is considered central to the covenant between the Jewish people and God. It is also practiced ritually by Muslims, and for nonreligious reasons by some Christians and others.

Opponents consider it painful and barbaric, akin to female circumcision rites in Africa that have attracted international condemnation. Supporters say it has health benefits, and is only briefly painful.

Hess is president of a San Diego group, MGM Bill, which is also seeking signatures to put a similar measure on the ballot in Santa Monica. MGM stands for male genital mutilation.

In the comic, the blond superhero takes on "Monster Mohel" — a bearded, black-hatted man wearing a prayer shawl. In the traditional Jewish community, a mohel is a person trained to perform circumcisions. The "Monster Mohel," who leers as he sets after a baby with bloody scissors, is flanked by gun-toting henchmen dressed in the traditional clothes of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Most of the "good" characters in the book have blond or light-brown hair and features that might be termed Aryan.

The publication of the comic book was first reported Thursday by a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Debra J. Saunders, who asked Hess if he considered it to be anti-Semitic. "A lot of people have said that, but we're not trying to be anti-Semitic," he replied. "We're trying to be pro-human rights."

Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, called it alarming that Hess would use such images in the anti-circumcision campaign.

"The images, in addition to being offensive, are not particularly original," she said. "They're reminiscent of millennia-old stereotypes that have been used to persecute and oppress Jews."

She said the measure to ban circumcision was "an affront to medical science, to the sacred relationship between physicians and the moms and dads with whom they are making this choice, and … would undermine the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion."

Hess did not return phone calls Friday.



This article was found at:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-circumcision-20110604,0,2417940.story


RELATED ARTICLES ON THIS BLOG



CIRCUMCISION OF BOYS


Initiative to ban male circumcision in San Francisco gets enough signatures for November ballot



Circumcising children without their consent violates their human rights and religious freedom


Jewish groups vow to fight voter initiative that would make male circumcision illegal in San Francisco


Is male circumcision a violation of children's rights or a procedure that prevents disease and saves lives?


Mutilating babies through circumcision is cruel, barbaric medical and religious child abuse


Vancouver man guilty of criminal negligence for botched circumcision of son gets one year in jail


Religiously deluded father guilty of negligence causing bodily harm for botched home-circumcision of 4-year-old son


Man accused of circumcising own children


Jury can't decide whether Mormon polygamist is guilty of child abuse for circumcising two sons at home with box cutter


Dad never charged in botched home circumcision of 3-month old in 2008 now charged with murdering 2nd son 


CIRCUMCISION OF GIRLS


One of the most common human rights abuses is the grotesque sexual torture of girls for religion and tradition



Canadian mom fighting legal battle to protect 3 daughters from ritual abuse of genital mutilation in Nigeria 


New Canadian immigration guide says multiculturalism no excuse for barbaric practices like honour crimes, forced marriages, genital mutilation 


10 year old Nigerian girl facing deportation from UK attempts suicide to avoid cultists and genital mutilation 


Thousands of British girls tortured by genital mutilation, no perpetrator yet prosecuted despite longstanding laws 


Thousands of girls mutilated in Britain 


Female genital mutilation common place in Kurdish Iraq, motivated mainly by a false religious imperative


A Cutting Tradition


Police plea on genital mutilation


American Academy of Pediatrics issue new policy that essentially promotes female genital mutilation


Follow-Up To: American Academy of Pediatrics issue new policy that essentially promotes female genital mutilatio


Egypt forbids female circumcision


Islamic scholar opposes ban on female circumcision


Witch hunt: Africa's hidden war on women


Famous Egyptian feminist tackles religious fundamentalism to protect women and girls, but gets no honour in her own country 


Author challenges feminists to take on major religions that subjugate and abuse women and children

No comments:

Post a comment