Anti-Semitism Turns Off Supporters of Circumcision Bans

Jena Troutman believes her effort was misrepresented as a religious attack

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Jena Troutman, the primary subject of last weekend's New York Times report about the growing "momentum" of circumcision bans, has dropped her bid to outlaw the practice in the seaside city of Santa Monica, CA. Troutman, The Jewish Journal first learned, is saying her campaign against circumcision has been misrepresented as an attack on religious freedom. "It shouldn't have been about religion in the first place," she said.

She is the latest opponent of circumcision to drop her support because of anti-Semitic undertones of the pro-ban movement. Even The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, who prefers the term "male genital mutilation," dropped his support for a similar initiative in San Francisco. "One day, a rational, calm and tolerant campaign to prevent the routine mutilation of male infants will emerge," he wrote. "But not this one. It's despicable."

In San Francisco the so-called "intactivists" have made progress. They've already collected the requisite number of signatures to take the proposal to a ballot vote in November. Backers have argued that it's an "unnecessary and outdated practice." Doctors cited by the Times however, seemed agnostic on the issue. "To say it is mutilation is wrong from the get-go," appraised one. "Any doctor who says it is needed is not being honest, but to say that it needs to be banned is shocking."

The anti-Semitic undertones of the movement have appeared in the form of an inflammatory cartoon called Foreskin Man, which features a blond superhero trying to save newborns from "monster" circumcision rabbis. The Anti-Defamation League called it "grotesque," "disrespectful," and "deeply offensive." As for Troutman, she doesn't feel "comfortable" gathering the signatures anymore after increased media scrutiny.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.