Between the controversy surrounding the proposed local laws in California against circumcision. and the Weinergate scandal, so far the month of June can be called the month of the schmeckel (Yiddish for penis).  There has been more schmeckel talk in the main stream media over the past two weeks, than occurs in an eighth grade lunch room in an all-boys school during the course of an entire school year.

Thankfully there will probably be no more Weiner’s wiener pictures released (even though the nightmares remain), and after a leader of the anti-circumcision movement published a blatantly anti-Semitic comic book (called Foreskin Man), the ballot initiative to ban childhood circumcision Santa Monica was dropped. The San Francisco initiative still remains on the ballot.

Sadly the movement against circumcision is not over and Academy Award winning actor Russell Crow, has decided to join in on the “fun” with an anti-circumcision rant on twitter.

A Crowe follower told the Australian celebrity that he was expecting a son soon, and asked for his input on whether he should have his baby circumcised.

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Crowe responded harshly, saying that “circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin?”

The actor added that “babies are perfect” when they are born. Crowe later said that he “will always stand for the perfection of babies, I will always believe in God, not man’s interpretation of what God requires.”

One follower asked if he was “comparing sexual mutilation w/ a jewish ceremonial act?!” Crowe wrote: “Can you actually read the words you just typed ‘a ceremonial act’, F— that. The Mayans had ceremonial acts too.”

Mr. Crowe should know that throwing a telephone at an employee of the Mercer Hotel is barbaric and stupid, circumcision is not, it is part of a both Jewish and Muslim religious practice.

Many Jewish practices do originate from Rabbinical interpretation of what is written in the Torah, such as not eating milk with mean (Rabbis got that from the Torah saying “Do not boil a kid in its mother’s milk)

On the other hand circumcision is directly commanded in the Torah, the five books of Moses. The command for circumcision is in the appears  in  Bereisheet (the Jewish name for the book of Genesis)

You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. At the age of eight days, you shall circumcise every male child born to you throughout the generations …Bereisheet 17:11-1

This is not as Mr. Crowe says an  interpretation of what God wants, but according to Jews and Muslims it is a direct order right there in ink and parchment. From what I understand from my Christian friends,  they too believe that the Torah is the word of God (but order’s such as circumcision apply only to Jews in the “old Testament”)

Where there is interpretation is why God ordered Jews to circumcise their son’s at eight-days-old. One interpretation given by the Rabbis is that males are  not born perfect on purpose.  The reason for circumcision is to give fathers (the parent who is ordered to conduct the ritual) is to allow them to have a greater participation in the act of creation.  We believe that God has a huge role, and the mother’s obviously have the role of developing the baby within her body, through the act of Brit Milah (the circumcision ceremony) dad has the role of adding the final touch, making the boy perfect.

Several followers responded to Crowe’s remarks, using scientific and hygienic explanations to justify circumcision. The actor rebuffed them, saying that “‘human’ science has caused too much damage,” calling the follower “a moron”. In response to claims that circumcision is hygienic the actor scoffed, saying “why don’t you sew up your ass then?”

Maybe Mr. Crow should sew up his fingers before his stupidity continues. It is an established scientific fact that circumcision helps prevent HIV.

The actor pointed out what he believes to be a double standard, saying it is “interesting that female circumcision is widely considered barbaric, while male circumcision is so widely accepted.”

Perhaps it has been a long time since Mr. Crowe saw a woman naked (which may be why he is so cranky), so allow me to refresh his memory….females parts are different than male ones.

The female circumcision argument is often presented by the anti-circumcision forces. Female genital cutting, a controversial practice that usually involves the removal of the clitoris, is illegal in the United States.  Female circumcision  is designed to take away sexual pleasure from women, male circumcision does not reduce sensation (you will have to trust me on that one).

Per the explanation I gave above, according to the Rabbis, it is males who are born imperfect, not females so there is no need for female circumcision. As far as permanent injuries during the practice, thankfully they are very very few and far between (although after my Bris at eight days old, I could not walk for over a year, the same thing happened with my son).

Crowe clarified that he is not anti-Semitic, saying he loves his Jewish friends with their “apples and the honey and the funny little hats”. However, he implored them to stop “cutting” their babies.

He may not be anti-Semitic but he is certainly insensitive. The reader is half expecting him to say  “some of his best friends wear those funny little hats.”

Crowe’s argument is reminiscent of the Hellenist philosophy behind the Chanukah story.  The Hellenists “worshiped” the human form, it was the essence of perfection. The story of the Maccabees begins with the  Greeks banning circumcision, which led to a bloody revolt. The Romans banned circumcision after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.

The Hebrew word for ritual circumcision, Brit Milah , literally means “covenant of circumcision.” It is a covenantal act that Jews have practiced since the time of the Patriarch Abraham more than 3,500 years ago. It reflects a commitment to God.

 Historically movements to ban circumcision are centered in attempts to move the Jewish commitment from God and refocus it on man. In fact almost every campaign to destroy the Jewish people started with a ban on circumcision, which is followed by a ban on kosher slaughter and finally a ban on teaching Torah.

Whether they were meant to be anti-Jewish or not, both the SF Ballot initiative and Crowe’s rant,  are fundamentally anti-Semitic,  as is the Dutch ban on kosher slaughter and the movements across Europe to ban kosher meat.

Although I would argue that their intent is more nefarious, even if you give them the benefit of the doubt and believe their intent to be Humanist or Hellenistic the end result is banning key Jewish rituals and practice.

As for Crowe, if he is truly not anti-Semitic,  he should do research on the issue and understand, prior to starting to rant against it. Based on his tweets he either a hater, too stupid to think before he tweets.

UPDATE: Two Developments since this post first went up. Crowe’s friend Eli Roth went all out trying to defend his buddy against charges of Antisemitism

Roth is talking about the line with the funny hat, apples and honey, and stop cutting your babies, which was made to Roth. Allow me to suggest that not only wasn’t it funny but giving him the benefit of the doubt, a line like that should be made via direct message not an open tweet.

Crowe removed the anti-Circumcision rants from his site and apologized for the insensitive comments publicly made to Roth, adding:

  • “I have a deep and abiding love for all people of all nationalities, I’m very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress.”
  • “My personal beliefs aside I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry.”

None of this changes the conclusion made above.  The fight against circumcision is an attempt to draw people away from God.  My criticism of Crowe was not based on his remarks to his buddy Roth but on his outburst against circumcision and I suggested that  he should do research on an issue and try to understand it, prior to starting to rant against it. Based in his rants he understood neither the reasons why Brit Milah is important the Jews, not the history of  circumcision bans leading to major waves of Antisemitism.  If he understood the background and still made those comments then he is a hater. Should he have made the comments in the absence of any knowledge lets just say he doesn’t have a beautiful mind just simple one.

Hence the question in the title, is he anti-Semitic or just stupid, I leave the answer up to the  reader.

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