An effort to ban circumcision for anyone under the age of 18 is now complicated by a graphic novel that many are calling anti-Semitic.
San Francisco is set to vote on the ban in November, and an effort is under way to ban the practice in Santa Monica, Calif., just west of Los Angeles. The debate has been pitched already, but the discovery of a comic book that depicts Jews as knife-wielding, bloodthirsty villains is sparking an outcry. The San Francisco Chroniclediscovered the Foreskin Man comic book, which was written and created by Matthew Hess, the president of MGM (male genital mutilation) Bill, an anticircumcision group based in San Diego. Hess told the Chronicle he doesn't see his comic book as anti-Semitic, but Jewish leaders say it reeks of European hate imagery that sprang up around World War II.
"This is an advocacy campaign taken to a new low," Nancy J. Appel, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. "This is a sensitive, serious issue where good people can disagree and which the Jewish community feels is an assault on its values and traditions going back thousands of years and centered in the Hebrew Bible. It is one thing to debate it, is another thing to degrade it. Foreskin Man, with its grotesque anti-Semitic imagery and themes, reaches a new low and is disrespectful and deeply offensive."
A gay man, Lloyd Schofield, is leading the charge to ban circumcision in San Francisco. He was quoted inHIV Plus, The Advocate's sister publication, as saying, "There is a reverse correlation between circumcision and HIV. Some nations in Africa have a higher HIV infection rate -- even though most of the men are circumcised -- than countries where most of the men are intact." He hasn't yet replied to a request for comment.