Friday, August 31, 2012
Dog bitten by Postman
There is the old quip that it is not news when a dog bites a
postman, but it is news when a postman bites a dog.
The principle is on display in recent days in the countless
screaming media headlines over the "lynch" of Arabs in Jerusalem by
Jews. Never mind that all involved (except for one alleged
participant) are teenagers. The headlines in Israel are calling it a
lynch (see http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4274106,00.html)
and of course these are being aped in the anti-Israel foreign media.
There is some argument over just what happened. A group of bored
Jewish teenagers, some as young as 12, were evidently hanging about in
downtown Jerusalem and perhaps looking for trouble. (The one
exception was a 19 year old, not a minor and so now under arrest.)
Possibly some passing Arab teenagers made flirtatious or obscene
comments to the girls in the group. The boys then attacked and beat
the Arabs. The "attackers" were street punks, one sporting a mohawk
haircut. One Arab was injured.
So what are we to make of this? The same media that are
turning purple with rage and screaming for retribution over this
"lynching" never had very much to say a few months back when a group
of Haifa Arabs who were NOT teenagers attempted to lynch some Jewish
soldiers out of uniform who were NOT teenagers, nor when the Arabs
involved went scot free. From the massive interest the Western media
are showing in this "incident" you would think that teenage hoodlums
of various ethnicities never ever get into street fights in any other
countries in hot weather. Haaretz has a long track record of filling
the paper with "reports," many of them fictional, of Jews
(particularly settlers) attacking Arabs or vandalizing Arab property,
while downplaying or refusing to mention acts of Arab violence. If
Haaretz had been operating in 1938 you would have learned that Germany
was filled with attacks by Jewish hooligans against poor innocent
German victims and that Kristallnacht was an anti-Christian pogrom by
Let me translate the comments by Kalman Liebskind in today's
Maariv on this whole story.
'The insane obsession with what is being dubbed the Jerusalem "lynch"
has by now been blown completely out of proportion. This is NOT
because we should regard the actual incident lightly but because
countless incidents at least as violent are completely ignored by the
'These days some graffiti on an Arab gravestone is international
headline news, while the nonstop vandalizing and desecration of Jewish
graves on the Mount of Olives gets nary a mention. When a Jew
strikes an Arab in anger this is a banner headline. Dozens of Molotov
cocktail bombs thrown at Jews by Arabs every day are never mentioned.
The excuse is supposed to be that Jews attacking Arabs are news, like
a man biting a dog. But I have two responses to that.
'First, If that is the real reason, then I want to hear it said
unambiguously on the news and in the media. The fact that the Arabs
are the violent side of the conflict is a matter about which the media
refuse to speak. Second, the media are supposed to be an intermediary
link between reality and the consumer. So when 1000 attacks against
Jews by Arabs are never reported, while one single attack by Jews
against Arabs is the focus of the front pages for two weeks, readers
will understand that the violent side in the Middle East conflict is
the Jews. One cannot overstate the importance of this bias. If the
media were to report accurately the dimensions of Arab terror, the
Israeli public would be demanding immediate military action against
Gaza. When the public is unaware that this terror exists, the public
'Oh and one more thing worth noting. Even with all the press
attention to the Arab victim of street hooliganism in Jerusalem, the
simple fact of the matter is that Arabs can walk about freely in the
"Jewish areas" of Jerusalem. Try to ask the cable TV technician who
made a wrong turn into Issawiya (Arab neighborhood next to the Hebrew
University) how he felt being attacked, and then ask on which page the
incident was reported.' (SP - or the Hebrew University students who
similarly were beaten by a lynch mob in the same place last year)
2. From the Wall Street Journal: August 30, 2012, 7:34 p.m. ET
Germany's Circumcision Police
Here's an idea: Send an international delegation of rabbis and imams
to seek arrest in protest.
There was a head-spinning moment in Germany last week: News emerged
that a rabbi had been criminally charged for performing his religious
duties. Rabbi David Goldberg of northern Bavaria, who shepherds a
400-member community, is the first person to run afoul of a ruling by
a Cologne judge earlier this year that criminalized circumcision, a
basic religious rite.
There is some precedent outside of Germany for such a ruling. In 2001,
a Swedish law sparked a protest from Jews and Muslims by requiring
that a medical doctor or anesthesia nurse accompany registered
circumcisers, and that anesthesia be applied before the procedure. The
law is still in effect.
In 2006, a Finnish court charged a Muslim mother with assault for
circumcising her baby, and this was followed by a Jewish couple being
fined for causing bodily harm to their son. The Muslim mother wasn't
ultimately punished, and in 2006 the Finnish Supreme Court said her
actions weren't criminal and religious circumcision not a crime. In
the United States, a San Francisco ballot initiative tried last year
to make circumcision an offense punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to
a year in prison; it failed to get enough votes. (In Germany, the
Cologne judge seems not to have not yet specified punishment for
The ban by the court in Cologne, however, is the most troubling. For
decades Germany has been an example of how a nation can take
responsibility for its previous crimes. It is very moving to see
Germany's Holocaust memorial in Berlin, just two blocks from the
country's parliament. But the circumcision ban deserves universal
The American and European rabbinate should lead a delegation of
mohelim (ritual circumcisers) to Germany to seek arrest for civil
disobedience in protest against government persecution. I would join
them and call upon Islamic imams to stand with us.
Does the German government really want to get into a public battle
over whether they are better guardians of the health and welfare of
Jewish (and Muslim) children than their parents?
The Los Angeles Times recently cited a study predicting that as the
number of circumcisions goes down in the U.S., the cost of health care
will steadily climb. Eryn Brown reported that "If circumcision rates
were to fall to 10% . . . lifetime health costs for all the babies
born in a year would go up by $505 million. That works out to $313 in
added costs for every circumcision that doesn't happen."
Why? Because circumcision has been proven to be the second most
effective means—after a condom—for stopping the transmission of
HIV-AIDS, with the British Medical Journal reporting that circumcised
men are eight times less likely to contract the infection.
The New York Times echoed these findings in an Aug. 27 report that
projected "declining U.S. circumcision rates could add more than $4
billion in health care costs in coming years because of increased
illness and infections." The story focused on the American Academy of
Pediatrics updating its 13-year-old policy on circumcision and
declaring that the health benefits of circumcision—in reducing chances
of HIV infection and other STDs, urinary tract infection, and
cancer—outweigh the risks.
While the Germans decry the barbarity of circumcision for men, they
also overlook the benefit to women who are the men's partners. Male
circumcision reduces the risk of cervical cancer—caused by the human
papillomavirus, which thrives under and on the foreskin—by at least
20%, according to an April 2002 article in the British Medical
While some attempt to equate male circumcision with female
clitoridectomy, the comparison is absurd. Female circumcision involves
removing a woman's ability to have pleasure during sexual relations.
It is a barbarous act of mutilation that has no corollary to its male
counterpart. Judaism has always celebrated the sexual bond between
husband and wife. Attempts to malign circumcision as a method of
denying a man's sexual pleasure are ignorant. Judaism insists that sex
be accompanied by exhilaration and enjoyment as a bonding experience
that leads to sustained emotional connection.
We Jews must be doing something right in the bedroom given the fact
that, alone among the ancient peoples of the world, we are still here,
despite countless attempts to make us a historical footnote.
A German judge may think he is a better guarantor of Jewish well-being
than Jews themselves. No thanks.
Rabbi Boteach's books include "Kosher Jesus" (Gefen, 2012) and "Kosher
Sex" (Doubleday, 1999). He is a Republican candidate for the U.S.
Congress from New Jersey's ninth district.
(Afterword by SP - I personally prefer that the problem of laws
against the bris in Germany be dealt with by pointing out that no
self-respecting Jew could possibly live in Germany today in the first
place. Even visiting it is something I think Jews should avoid.)