Anti-Semitic comic book in San Francisco

I posted this entry briefly yesterday afternoon, then took it offline when I realized that the anti-Semitic cartoon that it was responding to was at least partly satiric. The satiric element made any serious condemnation of the cartoon seem overdone. Yet, as I further realized, this was part of the sinister nature of the cartoon—to employ classic anti-Semitic motifs, but to present them in a slightly jocular manner so as to disarm and hamstring critics. The cartoon, notwithstanding its satiric elements, remains anti-Semitic, just as the anti-circumcision campaign of which the cartoon is an expression is aimed primarily at Jews, seeking to prevent them, in the name of liberal equality, from practicing their religion. So, after further thought, I’ve decided to re-post the entry.

This is beyond belief: a comic book used as part of the anti-circumcision movement in San Francisco which is plainly and grossly anti-Semitic, with ugly, monstrous Jews pitted against a blond, anti-circumcision superman. What is going on? Who are the people behind this? Has the anti-Christianism that is central to modern liberalism devolved into anti-Semitism? That is, Christianity with its oppressive morality is the source of all evil, and Judaism is the parent of Christianity, so let’s present Judaism as evil, and, moreover, let’s present Judaism as evil using the coarsest kind of anti-Semitic imagery?

Let me unpack what I just said. As I have written many times, modern liberalism began in large part as a reaction against the Nazi Holocaust and turned into a war against our own society. It happened this way. After the war it became a common notion that the Holocaust was due to “intolerance,” which, since “intolerance” was now associated with the greatest evil in history, led to the canonical modern liberal idea that all intolerance must be eliminated, which led insensibly but ineluctably to the idea that our very society must be reconstructed and thus eliminated, because our society (like any society) is intolerant of that which is antithetical or dangerous or unassimilable to itself.

Now let’s go over that again and take it in a new direction, showing how it applies to the present issue. Modern liberalism began as a reaction against the Nazi Holocaust, and that reaction became a war against all intolerance, oppression, and inequality, and the war became, not only a war against our own society, because our society is inherently intolerant, unequal, and oppressive, as stated above, it also became a war against moral truth, because if there is a moral truth, then there is a reality higher than the human self and its desires, and some human behaviors are closer to that truth, i.e., better, and some are farther from it, i.e., worse, all of which is unequal and oppressive, violating the liberal vision of a world of equal human selves. Therefore the belief in moral truth must be eliminated. And since the belief in moral truth must be eliminated, the specific source of that belief in our society, namely Judeo-Christian morality, must be eliminated. Therefore Judaism and the Jews must be attacked, and we will attack the Jews using the crudest anti-Semitic imagery.

Thus modern liberalism, which began as an extreme and irrational reaction against Nazi anti-Semitism, has devolved into Nazi-style anti-Semitism. While Nazism and modern liberalism start from very different places, they have something profound in common, namely the rejection of objective moral truth. And whenever the idea of objective moral truth is repudiated, such repudiation almost inevitably takes the form of anti-Semitism, because it was the Jews who, through God’s Revelation, brought that idea into human history for the first time.

- end of initial entry -

JC writes from Houston:

The drawings in this strip look like they could have been taken from Der Giftpilz (“the poison mushroom”), a Nazi era anti-Semitic publication by Julius Streicher, one of Hitler’s henchmen and editor of the Nazi Party newspaper the Volkischer Beobachter.

Paul Henri writes:

Wow! It is unbelievably anti-Semitic but is just a shade of things to come before things get better. In the nondiscrimination, anti-Western view, Christians and Jews are not allowed to practice their faiths because practicing a faith requires rules, which are always discriminatory unless they are anti-Western or anti-white.

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

May I recommend this short essay by my friend and once-upon-a-time dissertation director Eric Gans on the anthropology of anti-Semitism.

LA writes:

In connection with this entry, see my 2003 article at FrontPage Magazine, “Liberalism: the Real Cause of anti-Semitism.”

LA writes:

Here are articles on this subject.

At First Things.

At Hot Air.

June 6

Daniel O. writes:

You have correctly asserted that modern liberalism began as an “extreme and irrational reaction against Nazi anti-Semitism” and has devolved into “Nazi-style anti-Semitism.” Nevertheless, I think liberalism has always had a latent anti-Semitic tinge, including “non-modern” or pre-National Socialist liberalism.

For instance, take a look at this website. This is a cartoon printed in a liberal political magazine in 1849. In the picture you see a person with a large hooked nose: this is a caricature of Friedrich Julius Stahl. As you might know, Stahl was a fierce opponent of the French Revolution and a Jew converted to Christianity—and consequently unpopular in the old German liberal movement. Although Stahl converted to Christianity, his liberal opponents still tried to portray him as a stereotypical Jew with a hooked nose. The National Socialist –and anti-Christian– idea of “Baptism didn’t make a Gentile out of him,” which is illustrated in the link provided by JC, rather reminded me of this 1849 cartoon.

For the same dynamics, all liberal parties in the Netherlands, and sadly including the PVV, voted to outlaw specifically Jewish ritual slaughter (see this). Perhaps liberal anti-Semitism is older than World War II, and perhaps every anti-Christian movement has to become anti-Jewish eventually, because Jesus was a Jew.

Timothy A. writes:

There is an interesting bit of speculation regarding the source of this anti-Semitism offered by a reader of the blog “Diary of a Wimpy Catholic.”

The quote:

“In this instance, I think it’s yet a third kind of acceptable anti-Semitism, a little-known one yet one that is persistent especially in California: Gay activist anti-Semitism. A certain subset of gays are strong “uncut” proponents and want all penises to have foreskins because they prefer them that way, and so try to force the world to comply; when they get the biggest pushback from Jewish groups, their frustration turns to hatred.”

Robert B. writes:

About ten years or so ago I began to notice the anti-circumcision campaign gain ground. At the time, it was easily identifiable as a gay rights/agenda driven meme. Today, it has been co-opted by the left in general and is being used to attack Jewish religious beliefs as they are the ones who perform it on infants (along with observant Christians—see Vatican archives on the subject) not the Moslems, who wait till the child is older.

All that being said, the left still cloaks their anti-Semitism with a more hedonistic reasoning a la the gay constituency, hence the local of SF.

LA replies:

There was another reader’s e-mail, which I seem to have lost, which said that homosexuals prefer non-circumcised penises because they increase the enjoyment of fellatio.

Kilroy M. writes from Australia:

Firstly, I agree that the cartoon is anti-Semitic and therefore reprehensible. There is room for debate regarding religious traditions that involve genital mutilation, however the method employed obviously involved the dehumanisation of the Jewish people by the sinister representations of the characters. That theme is so strong that it seems the creators of the cartoon were less interested in the controversy over circumcision and more in making Jews look ridiculous and evil.

But I wonder whether it is true that the war against objective truth and absolutist morality is responsible for an attack on Jews in a culture that remains fundamentally based on Christian traditions. Is there such a close connection between Christianity and Judaism in U.S. popular culture, for the left’s hatred of truth, morality, and therefore Christianity to spill over into the hatred of Jews and Judaism itself? It seem there would have to be to make a link between contemporary ideological liberalism and classical anti-Semitism across the bridge of Christophobia. My understanding is that the left’s hatred of Israel is not contingent upon its very real hatred of Christianity, rather, its anti-Semitic attitude is simply the hatred of the last ethno-cultural group that unashamedly purports to exist as an ethno-cultural group. leftist hatred of Jews is just the equal application of the programme to destroy all national particularism. This is why as a national particularist myself, I have found white ethno nationalists who are anti-Israel and hate Jews to be philosophically inconsistent and politically hypocrite.

Robert C. writes from Nashville:

Aft reading your article if cause me to think of a conversation I had had earlier this week at a local coffee house with an MD who is “Palestinian.” He was going on about circumcision as Jewish religious infant mutilation. But non -Jewish Westerners have also done the same for non-religious reasons. Which to him, just demonstrates the power of the Jewish influence. Of course, he is anti-Semitic, and anti-Israeli and sees the whole world through that lens.

My question is, when did circumcision become an issue and where did it come from? Why is it a “Jewish issue” and not just a medical one, at least in America?

Rhona N. writes:

Are the anti-circumcision people aware of that other group, besides Jews, that practices this ritual? Why it’s the Muslims, and they take their rituals very seriously. When the Muslims get outraged about the ban and threaten these people with their lives, will they make them the exception out of sheer cowardice? Of course they would come up with a reason!

Rhona continues:
The bill pertains to all males under the age of 18, so it affects Muslims as well as Jews.

June 7

Robert B. writes:

After reading this, in which a man asks for help with his foreskin which is attached to his penis, I am certainly glad my mother had me circumcised:

Robert B. writes:

In San Francisco 56 percent of 58,598 STI clinic patients examined between 1996 and 2005 were circumcised [Mor et al., 2007]. Rate was Blacks 62 percent, Whites 60 percent, Hispanics 42 percent, Asian or Pacific Islander 48 percent; gay/bisexual 73 percent, heterosexual 66 percent (35 percent of the cohort were gay/bisexual). Rate rose continuously from 40 percent for men born in 1920 through to 60 percent for men born in 1960 and then declined to 43 percent for men born in 1980 [Mor et al., 2007]. The decline was apparent in all racial group.

It should be noted that the San Francisco Bay Area is the heartland of the anti-circumcision movement, being where it started and where its leadership and main activists reside. Clearly this cohort of San Francisco residents differs from the rest of the USA, where circumcision rates are much higher.

This whole site is an excellent source of scientific research on why circumcision is a good thing and also represents a total rebuttal of anti-circumcision propaganda,

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 05, 2011 04:47 PM | Send

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