Is there an anti-Moslem, anti-Jewish bias behind the California movement to ban circumcision?

While still small, the movement to ban circumcision seems to be growing in California.  A few weeks ago I read that a petition drive had yielded enough signatures to get banning circumcision of newborn males on the ballot in San Francisco.  Now a similar petition effort is underway in Santa Monica. 

There is little likelihood these or other measures would pass, and even if they did, they wouldn’t hold water in court.  But still, it does give one pause, at least if one is Jewish like me, or Moslem, like many of my friends.

I visited, run by Jena Troutman, the woman who is leading the ban circumcision movement in California.   It repackages its litany against circumcision in several ways, in a “25 reasons” list, an FAQ and several articles.   It all comes down to three messages:

  1. It is medically unnecessary
  2. It has medical risks
  3. It has lifelong side effects, the most dramatic of which is decreased erotic sensitivity in that area.

Reasons number two and number three are patently false, disproved by lots of research, and in the case of decreased sensitivity, a whole lot of anecdotal evidence as well.  As to the lack of medical necessity: many studies have shown through the years that women with circumcised partners have lower rates of uterine cancer and that circumcised males are far less likely to contract certain bacterial diseases in that area.  As a feisty aunt of mine might say, if it doesn’t hurt and it might help, what’s the problem?

Now that I’ve demolished the arguments of the ban circumcision movement, I want to speculate about its origins, to wit, is it a veiled attack on Jews and/or Moslems (since many Moslems also circumcise new-born males)?  I saw not a note of anti-Semitic or anti-Moslem ideas on either the website or any of the dozens of medically-themed articles against circumcision you can find at  (The impressive list reminds me of the equally impressive lists of articles I used to see on the health benefits of gingko biloba and laetrile.)

Despite the hygienic approach of the materials and the campaign, I assert that based on the given information, any act to ban circumcision is inherently and irrefutably anti-Semitic and anti-Moslem.  We may never know, but it’s difficult not to wonder if behind the smiley and earnest dedication of Jena Troutman lurks some money that hates Jews, and may hate Moslems, too.

I think Jews should learn a lesson from the small ban circumcision movement, a lesson that I believe many enlightened Moslems have known for some time: that there are more communalities between the Jewish and Moslem religions and cultures than there are between either of these venerable civilizations and Christianity.  Think of ancient language, dietary restrictions, multiple daily prayer times, prayer repetition, professions in Diaspora, musical traditions, methodologies of its great philosophers—the list of points at which Jewish and Moslem culture touch are endless.

American Jews should contemplate these similarities when asked to join forces with the American religious right in the kind of holy war proposed by the likes of Professor Samuel P. Huntington of the “clash of civilizations” theory.  And Israelis might remember these similarities when they consider the civil and economic rights of Palestinians and when they contemplate the possibility of negotiating peace in the Middle East.

4 comments on “Is there an anti-Moslem, anti-Jewish bias behind the California movement to ban circumcision?
  1. Simcha says:

    Hahahahahaha, “no comments” on this story. Hahahahahaha, you must have censored them all, because everyone who has commented sees the insanity of slicing a baby’s penis with a razor blade.


  2. Simcha says:

    By the way, how utterly typical of one who claims to be a frum yid: Jena is not, nor has she ever been “the woman who is leading the ban circumcision movement in California.” Did your mother teach you to make things up and present them as fact?

    2) Having just read your post beyond the first paragraph after posting, I am now willing to bet hundreds of thousands of dollars that you are, in fact, a frum yid, and will almost certainly not post the previous comments. “Demolished the argument?” You presented nothing to refute the argument.

    3) My stepfather was circumcised when he married my mother, and it took EIGHTEEN years for him to admit it was one of the two or three stupidest things he had ever done, despite his enduring love for my mother. VAST reduction in sensitivity.

    4) It IS medically unnecessary. The only reason disease rates dropped in areas of Africa is that the men are afraid to ask the women for sex, because the women laugh and/or are repulsed by such a bizarre-looking penis

    5) What about the thousands and thousands and thousands of babies hospitalized, “accidentally” castrated, or, as just happened AGAIN recently, infected with herpes?

    6) The residual effects show themselves in the fear, physical cowardice, and comprehensive lack of courtesy in driving, honking, cutting in line, indisputably vicious attitudes, and so much more that simply does not happen at such high rates in non-frum communities.

    7) How do you explain the indisputable fact that Orthodox Jewish communities, specifically in Williamsburg, Borough Park, Kiryas Joel, and Monroe, suffer the single highest rates of sexual abuse of children? Yes, yes, you will deny, deny, but then, truth never did have much value to the 1200 or 1300 people I know who claim to be Orthodox Jews.

    Thirteen years living and serving in three Orthodox communities, and can genuinely state that I have never met an Orthodox Jew, although I have been invited (accepted) for Shabbas meals by dozens of “frum” families.

    Circumcision is promoted by people who wear $3,000 rodent hats, paid for with money that, according to Torah, is stolen from the poorest among us.

    Thank you for extending the opportunity for me to commit to writing, for the first time, deep feelings about this sexually bizarre, brutal activity. It is EXCLUSIVELY because of your brain-dead comments that I commit in this moment and minute to invest significant resources into helping this movement become a national referendum.

    Thank you, thank you! Just consider: Pushing 60 years of age, I cannot imagine ever having gotten involved in this business if not for the exquisitely egregious fallacies of your statements. We can see that YOU did not get much in the way of real education, particularly those portions treating with logical fallacies. Just think, many people will go to prison only because of your intentional embrace of diseased thinking. Truly, truly are you thanked with deep sincerity. Boy, do I feel good about this decision to commit, act, donate, and use my obvious skills to save countless innocent babies.

  3. Simcha says:

    Investing more than 90% of my income and approx 60% of my most precious, daily minutes into helping the helpless, particularly the starving, it is difficult to perceive anyone on earth being more Jewish than this commenter.

    A) The only man who sucks a baby’s penis is one with a truly diseased mind.
    B) To mutiliate a human being is certainly a crime.
    C) As one with an eidetic memory, I clearly remember my bris, and would never consider, even briefly, forgiving either of my parents. Broken neck, crushed skull, two broken legs, and literally a half-dozen ofther MASSIVE injuries or sets of injuries… and none of them have compared to the pain and suffering and rage I have experienced all my life because of that bizarre ritual.

    D) Brit milah (circumcision) is claimed to be a “COVENANT” between the baby and God. Perhaps those mindless morons should be forced to look up the word “COVENANT” in the dictionary, because you CANNOT make a covenant on behalf of another human being.

    E) As much as I have always loved being Jewish and, frankly, grateful for the educational commitment of the typical Jewish family, I gently and definitively hope that someone will come along and erase these genuine freaks. For 95 or so percent of all Jewish men, there is not, nor will there ever be in their lives, a more painful, more damaging, more immune-system-depleting injury.

    Finally, a one-year sentence? Are you serious? A man cuts off a part of your baby’s penis, then sucks the baby’s penis, and you want to give less than ten to twenty years? Pfui on you.

  4. I think your point about the need for common cause between Jews and Muslims is well-taken, and I say this as one who is neither Jewish nor Muslim.

    And as someone who loves your blog and agrees with you on most of what you put forth here, it pains me to say it — But I must disagree on your assertion that the anti-circumcision movement “is inherently and irrefutably anti-Semitic and anti-Moslem.”

    I actually know something about this.

    I am not myself part of the anti-circumcision movement.

    But I’ve seen enough of its arguments over the years to get a pretty good sense of its origins and associations.

    I do not think it can be traced to either anti-Semitism or anti-Islamic sympathies — as you yourself noted, the rationale is medical. In fact it is is rooted in part in the alternative health movement. But it is also rooted in elements of the pro-feminist men’s movement (not to be confused with the anti-feminist men’s movement).

    Those who have a blanket opposition to circumcision are much more coming at it from a human rights perspective, viewing it as an unnecessary mutilation of the male body.

    Think about it: Would you as quickly assert that opposition to female genital mutilation is anti-Muslim? I think you would quickly get an argument from the vast majority of feminists out there, including many Muslim feminists.

    To call criticizing and even attempting to ban male circumcision — a movement that I don’t personally necessarily agree with, but that I do understand — anti-Semitic is akin to the arguments of those who argue that any and all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.

    Is that really the sort of position you want to take?

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