The "intactivists" promoting a ban on circumcision in San Francisco are making headway. Their newest tool is a comic book about the exploits of an unusual superhero — Foreskin Man. But the comic is proving controversial, partly because one of the villains is a sneering rabbi named Monster Mohel. (See the image below.) Is this just a dab of humor, or a transparent attack on Jews?
This is blatantly anti-Semitic: The case against circumcision can be made "without depicting a scary rabbi named Monster Mohel slavering over a naked infant," says J.E. Dyer at Hot Air. Pitting an Aryan-looking anti-circumcision hero against "a scary rabbi named Monster Mohel" makes it clear that these nuts see "the Judaic religious view of circumcision as evil and repulsive." If that's not anti-Semitism, what is?
"Circumcision hatred: It was only a matter of time"
Opposing circumcision isn't necessarily bigoted: An activist has every right to criticize religious leaders when he thinks they are violating someone's human rights, says Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy. That's true about Jewish views on circumcision, Wahhabi Muslim attitudes toward women, and the opinions of some Christian groups about homosexuality. Critics should be careful about how they frame their accusations, but others should likewise respect "legitimate hostility to teachings and actions that are plausibly seen as causing secular harm."
"Harshly criticizing religious and cultural figures and practices"
But it's the portrayal of Jews — not circumcision opposition — that's offensive: The Anti-Defamation League isn't protesting against the push for a referendum on banning circumcision in San Francisco, says Ben Yakas at Gothamist. It's the "colorful" portrayal of Monster Mohel — "Nothing excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old boy," the comic says — that went too far. And this isn't just disgusting, it's pointless: Comic books reach 8- to 15-year-olds, and they can't even vote.
"'Intactivist' fight takes anti-Semitic turn with new comic book"