The growing number of anti-Semitic caricatures associated with the attempt to
ban circumcision in San Francisco is disturbing. These include the highly
inflammatory “Foreskin Man” comic, depicting a superhero saving innocent boys
from evil circumcisers, which The Jerusalem Post reports was produced by Matthew
Hess, “one of the central backers of the anti-circumcision
Indeed, the attempt to ban circumcision in San Francisco
smacks of a nefarious campaign to portray circumcision as genital mutilation. I
debated Lloyd Schofield, the main man behind the ban, on CNN. I later asked him
to debate me in public, where we would have more time, but after he sent a
friendly email which implied that there was not much difference between our
positions, he suddenly declined.
If the case against circumcision is so
clear-cut, and it is a grievous assault on a harmless infant, then why decline
the debate? Perhaps it is because the organizers know that in any debate, their
attempt to correlate the excising of the male foreskin with the removal of the
female clitoris will be shown up as an absurd lie. Female circumcision is all
about removing a woman’s ability to experience pleasure during sex, and is a
barbarous act of mutilation that has no corollary to its male
In my book Kosher Sex, I demonstrated conclusively that
Judaism celebrates the sexual, intimate and erotic bond between husband and
wife, and attempts to portray circumcision as a method of denying a man’s sexual
pleasure are ignorant.
San Francisco is supposed to be the city of
live-and-let- live, even as it now betrays a curious attachment to the male
foreskin, with its ludicrous attempt to punish its large Jewish community with a
fine of up to $1,000 or one year in jail for honoring the oldest of all Jewish
When I lived in Western Europe for 11 years, it was common to
hear attacks on circumcision and shechita coming together, as if there were some
correlation between the humane slaughtering of an animal and the cutting of an
infant’s foreskin. Sweden has a reputation of being a pretty laid-back nation,
but it stiffens in the face of circumcision.
In 2001, when it enacted a
draconian law requiring a medical doctor or an anesthesia nurse to accompany a
registered circumciser, and for anesthetic to be applied to a baby beforehand,
Swedish Jews and Muslims banded together to object. The World Jewish Congress
condemned the law as “the first legal restriction on Jewish religious practice
in Europe since the Nazi era.”
ALL THIS, of course, belies the medical
facts. Circumcision has been proven to be the second-most effective means –
after a condom – to stop the transmission of HIV-AIDS, with the British Medical
Journal reporting that circumcised men are eight times less likely to contract
the virus. Circumcision removes Langerhans cells in the foreskin, which have
special receptors that may grant the virus access into the
Circumcision also significantly reduces the transmission of other
STDs such as like genital herpes and syphilis, and lowers the risk of
In addition, men who are circumcised have 100%
immunity from penile cancer.
Male circumcision is also much healthier for
women, reducing the risk of cervical cancer by at least 20%, according to a 2002
article in the British Medical Journal. Cancer of the cervix is due to the human
papilloma virus, which thrives under and on the foreskin, from where it can be
transmitted during intercourse.
So why the effort to ban circumcision?
Radical secularists, for whom Judaism is a target of choice, wish
to portray religion as so barbarous that it excises any pleasure in sex,
reducing copulation to a cold and sterile act.
This lie that religion
frowns on sexual pleasure is widespread. In fact, deeply fulfilling sex is a
must in Jewish law, which makes it a sin for a man to have sex with his wife
without satisfying her first.
Judaism insists that sex be accompanied by
pleasure as a bonding experience that leads to emotional
Indeed, we Jews could teach even the sexually adventurous
people of the Golden Gate City a thing or two about sex, the proof of which is
that we alone, among all the nations of the world, are still here after
thousands of years, due to the fact that our (circumcised) ancestors were pretty
good at doing it.
Had Messrs. Schofield and Hess canvassed Jewish
husbands and wives before they put the attempted circumcision ban on the ballot,
they would have discovered that we Jews are doing just fine in the sexual
department, and could really do without their bothersome assault on our ancient
rituals and our privacy. Circumcised Jewish men are great lovers, and I would
strongly advise Schofield and Hess to keep their noses in their own
The writer is the international best-selling author of 25 books
which have been translated into 17 languages, and is currently working on The
Sexually Extinguished Wife. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.