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Anti-circumcision comic outrages Jewish community

June 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In November, San Francisco voters will become the first in the nation to decide whether to outlaw circumcision for young boys. But now one of the campaign tactics the backers is using is generating outrage in the Jewish community.

A new cartoon is generating so much backlash, proponents of a similar ballot proposal in Santa Monica withdrew their measure Tuesday. Critics say the cartoon is blatantly anti-Semitic.

The cartoon in question is an internet comic strip called Foreskin Man and features a blond-haired, blue-eyed hero battling an evil monster mohel. (A mohel is a Jewish person who performs circumcisions.)

"It is deeply alarming," Jewish Community Relations Council Associate Director Abby Porth said.

Porth showed ABC7 side by side comparisons of Foreskin Man and images the Nazis used in anti-Semitic propaganda.

"For millennia, people have tried to prevent Jews from practicing our religion and circumcision is a fundamental, integral piece of our practice," Porth said.

The comic's creator, Matthew Hess, also wrote the language for San Francisco's ballot measure. He came from San Diego in April to join the group of men who turned in enough signatures to put a ban on this November's ballot.

Hess says Foreskin Man is "doing what it's designed to do, shine a spotlight on the practice of brit milah...the genital mutilation of children without their consent."

Lloyd Schofield, the leader of San Francisco's anti-circumcision campaign, believes the comic goes too far.

"It's inflammatory and 180 degrees different from the direction we want to go in; I can understand why people would be offended, that's why we never used it on our website," Schofield said.

Even though the comic is not posted on Schofield's website, there is a link to Hess' site, where the cartoon is posted. Schofield says he would like Hess to remove the cartoon, but Hess tells ABC7 he has no intention of doing that.


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