A ballot initiative to ban circumcision in Santa Monica is withdrawn. But it’s up for a vote in San Francisco, while some call the move anti-Semitic
Santa Monica has narrowly missed becoming a proving ground for a disturbing new movement to ban circumcision.
That’s right. Ban it outright.
The Santa Monica MGM ballot initiative, submitted two weeks ago to City Hall, proposes a “prohibition of genital cutting of male minors.”
“It is unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the whole or any part of the male foreskin, testicles or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years,” goes the initiative, submitted by Santa Monica resident Jena Troutman.
The initiative proposes a $1,000 fine and one year in prison for violating the law.
This may seem like a joke – at first I thought it might be one.
But it is the second place that this issue has gotten traction. MGMbill.org, a San Diego based group, has gotten a circumcision ban on the ballot in San Francisco, where it will be voted upon in November.
What’s this all about?
Circumcision has been around for thousands of years. It is common practice in the United States. It is a religious imperative among Jews and Muslims. And in a society where children suffer from all kinds of abuses, it’s not a problem that seems to be crying out for a solution.
On its web-site, MGMbill.org claims to be standing up for human rights.
“Genital mutilation constitutes a major health risk, violates human rights and has lifelong physical and psychological effects,” the notice of intent warns.
But the measure smacks of something else, which smacked a lot louder on Monday as information emerged about a comic drawn by Matthew Hess, the leader of MGMbill.org. The local Lookout news wrote:
“Foreskin Man,” written by Matthew Hess – president of MGMbill.org, the group backing the local anti-circumcision measure – features a blond superman who thwarts “Monster Mohel,” a claw-fingered, hooked-nosed, dark-skinned demoniacal figure who tries to circumcise baby “Glick Sacks.”
Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom called this out as anti-Semitism in an interview with TheWrap.
“It is clear to me at least some of the people behind this ballot measure are engaging in anti-Semitism,” he said. “Beyond that, it appears to me some people are just angry and this is a way of taking out their anger.”
The Anti-Defamation League agreed. “’Foreskin Man,’ with its grotesque anti-Semitic imagery and themes, reaches a new low and is disrespectful and deeply offensive,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Associate Regional Director Nancy J. Appel told the Lookout.
In fact there is strong consensus in the medical community that circumcision does not constitute a health risk, and there is long-standing evidence that it brings long-term benefits.
But that’s not the point.
On Monday, Troutman unexpectedly called the Santa Monica mayor and said she’d be withdrawing the petition for a ballot initiative.
“She left a message that this was about her love for babies. She didn’t foresee that this would become a major cause for people as it clearly has,” said Bloom.
But he’s not leaving the issue alone. “There’s still a measure pending in San Francisco, it’s on the ballot,” said Bloom. “I’m going to turn my attention to it as are other people here in Southern California who are now alerted to this issue.
“This is a matter of parental choice and religious freedom.”
← Previous Story