Predictably, last week's piece on MGM Bill's attempt to make circumcision on any male under the age of 18 a misdemeanor ("After the Rapture") brought in a ton of comments -- both positive and negative. Not so predictably -- at least from my perhaps naive point of view -- much of the negative commentary came from fellow Jews who expressed the belief that circumcision is, in the words of one correspondent, ". . . utterly barbaric." Several writers opined that I was undoubtedly ". . . one of those close-minded rabbis who are bound by a bunch of medieval laws."
Far from it; I've always considered myself to be a fairly traditional Jew possessed of a wicked sense of humor. "Close-minded?" Anything but.
Nonetheless, there was something greatly unsettling about all these coreligionists marching in lockstep with Matthew Hess, MGM Bill, and their contention that circumcision is mutilation. I had the sense that they were blithely supporting a wolf in sheep's clothing. For as much as Hess might claim that his group's sole aim is "to be pro-human rights," I sensed a familiar pungency emanating from just beneath the surface. And so, I started doing a bit more research . . . and discovered Matthew Hess' comic book, "Foreskin Man."
Simply stated, "Foreskin Man" is a baldfaced anti-Semitic tract. Check it out for yourself. As with all comic books, "Foreskin Man" has heroes and villains. In this case, the heroes are blond-haired and fair-skinned. The principal villains are all dark, hook-nosed and wearing Chasidic garb.
"Foreskin Man," is the alter-ego of Miles Hastwick, "a former corporate scientist who now heads the Museum of Genital Integrity on a small island surrounded by San Diego's famous beaches." Hastwick's arch enemy is "Monster Mohel." "Nothing," we are told, "excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the penile flesh of an eight-day old infant boy. And after the glorified brit milah is complete, the delicious metzizah b'peh provides the icing on the cake." (I will not go into a description of metzizah b'peh, an ancient and rarely performed aspect of the bris. I myself have attended easily more than 250 britot, and have yet to see this done. In any event, whoever is ultimately responsible for this comic book, they have certainly done their homework, for 'metzizah b'peh' isn't the kind of ritual that a mere casual student of Jewish ritual would know or have heard of.)
You will forgive the comment, but Foreskin Man is straight out of Joseph Goebbels' most erotic dreams. It contains the kinds of disturbing, stereotypic images one would associate with Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer . . .
No matter how long or hard Matthew Hess denies any anti-Semitic overtones in his MGM Bill campaign, Foreskin Man shows him and his campaign for what it truly is: a anti-Semitic wolf in sheep's clothing. Hess can proclaim his concern for "human rights" until all the seas turn to lemonade. That will not change the fact that he is promulgating and perpetuating some of history's most evil, wicked and execrable stereotypes -- that of the leering, rapacious, immoral Jew.
Any and all Jewish folks who support MGM Bill's contention that circumcision is mutilation and thus should be outlawed, would do well to consider just whose lead they are following. For they are unwittingly joining the ranks of those who have no problem stoking an evil that simply will not die.
-2011 Kurt F. Stone