I’m reading some articles these days on the Cologne ruling on male genital mutilation (might as well get my personal stance out there right away), and one thing I keep seeing over and over is this idea that opposing MGM is anti-Semitic.
I’ve read too many articles flinging poo at “bigots” who oppose mutilation of babies, and too many weak defenses of the practice to take this sitting down any longer. So, here are some questions I have for those who would play the race/religion card, coherent answers to which are a basic requirement for credibility in my view.
Since the accusations are bound to be made: yes, I am “cut” myself, since birth, and no, I’ve got nothing against Judaism (or Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, Catholicism, or, for that matter, Satanism. That being said, I would like to posit a question or two.
One of the most common defenses of the practice of circumcision is the connection to religious custom, and the longstanding acceptance of it. I’m fully aware that Muslims also practice circumcision, in addition to Jewish tradition (I include in this the Christian). I’m also fully aware that many other people practice it for other reasons than Religion. And that the practice is thousands of years old.
So, can we apply that same logic to other religious practices, such as, say, honor killing? Can we throw rocks at people who touch footballs? Those practices are also thousands of years old. Does that make it OK to do such things as well? No? Well then, what makes you so special? Why is the forcible removal of the foreskin acceptable, and honor killing, or stoning, is not?
Another religious argument, which tends to be more of a subtext, is the contention that Jews have a religious right to claim kinship with male babies by deforming them surgically. The induction of male babies into the Jewish faith, some contend, requires the “symbolic” sacrifice of circumcision.
Of course, there are many Jewish organizations that oppose circumcision, and there are alternative ceremonies that can be performed…but somehow, this mutilation remains fundamental to the Jewish faith? I might be a Gentile, but sorry, I’m not buying it.
Especially when this sacrifice is explained to me. Get this: it has been told to me that the loss of the foreskin is a ritual sacrifice to God, to show devotion. I asked that person why the “sacrifice” can’t happen once the lamb reaches the age of majority. The (assumedly straight faced) reply: if men are given the choice, they usually opt out. And the corollary: We do it when they are that young so they don’t remember it. Usually with the addendum that they will never know the difference, so what’s the big deal?
Let me ask you… What kind of a “sacrifice” are you making when you are given no choice in the matter, when you have “no memory” of the sacrifice, and when the contention is that you will never know what you have lost (sacrificed) in the first place? That’s not sacrificial, it’s just brutality. It is not making a sacrifice, it is being offered up as one.
If I’m not mistaken (and believe me, I could be…I get most of my awareness of Judaic tradition from pop culture), Judaism and Islam, or more accurately Jews and Arabs, share common ancestry. My understanding is also that Islam and Judaism are branches split from a common faith, both following the God of Abraham. This makes my next question for Jews even more relevant.
What makes male circumcision and female circumcision different? What privileges your religious practices over those of your Muslim brothers (or third cousins removed twice on your mother’s side), pray tell? Why is your circumcision of boys OK, but their circumcision of girls horrific? Why do you not support their demands for the practice on religious grounds, especially considering their support for your campaign to mutilate of boys?
After all, they’re all just ‘flaps of skin’, aren’t they? They contain roughly the same number of nerve endings, they both serve roughly the same function. Heck, they even develop from the same tissue. So seriously, why should we say your barbarism is more acceptable than theirs? Because “that’s different”?
Speaking to the “anti-Semitic” nature of this argument, I would think awful hard before I positioned the mutilation of babies as the litmus test for anti-Semitism. Identity Politics is on its way out the door, after all, and I doubt this issue is worth having people view you, accurately, as baby mutilators.
I know there are huge numbers of thoughtful Jews out there that have opinions on this matter, and have a message they want to convey to the public, either pro or con. I am in no way convinced that even a majority of Jews feel this issue is worth the potential blowback, and a good number would like the controversy to simply go away. I personally know at least one guy who resents the hell out of having MGM portrayed as a “Jewish Issue” in the first place. His reasoned approach, however, seems to be undermined by a good many more people claiming religious privilege.
Call me an anti-Semite all you like, but I think answers to these questions are demanded if Gentiles who oppose circumcision are to endure accusations of racism from Jewish spokespersons.