‘Literally cock-sucking Jews’ is not the sort of copy line that would normally make me sit up and pay attention. When I first came across it on The Caudal Lure, a blog written by the scientist Pete Darwin, I sort of twitched my nose as if it has been assailed by a bad smell. Some anti-Semite drawing on the thoughts of Joseph Goebbels, venting their spleen against Jewish people? Then I read the opening line:
You’d think that in any context a man putting his mouth over a baby’s penis and sucking would be seen as outrageous by each and every person with sound mind, right? Wrong. The below image is of one of the most disgusting religious practices I can think of aside from female circumcision and child brides.
This comment was followed by a photo of a Jewish mohel doing the dirty deed. Amazingly the police weren’t called and no one looked as if they were about to wade in with a jemmy bar and prise the assailant away from the child. This element of society seemed to have lost its moral compass.
The name of the perverse assault described in the Caudal Lure is Metzitzah B’peh. It is:
a circumcision ritual practiced by some religious adherents whereby the male child is circumcised in front of an audience containing its family, and then has the remaining blood sucked from its penis by a Jewish practitioner.
Over the years there have been reported cases of children contracting sexually transmitted diseases after having been assaulted in such a lecherous manner. Christopher Hitchens slammed the practice in his book God Is Not Great, flagging up that some children had died as a result of these assaults. Child fatalities resulting from such practices in a city as technologically advanced as New York defies reason and throws up imagery from the dark ages.
I wonder what these perps put on their CVs. ‘Experienced cock sucker’ might get them a job in some department at Stormont but it must certainly raise eyebrows elsewhere.
Now before the Catholics start shaking their incense and splashing their holy water in my direction, I am not trying to undermine their religion by informing priests of what perks are on the go if they switch to some strain of Judaism. It is not easy to become a Jew. There is a lot of screening involved. Unlike other religions they are a bit fussy about who they take in.
It just seems that Metzitzah B’peh is a practice worth drawing attention to because of the way it gives licence to religion to brutalise and, by the standards of modern democracy, sexually assault children. Religions seem to believe that they should be protected in a way that golf clubs should not be. Try thinking of the public outcry that would well up were Shandon Park Golf Club to announce that it would organise a spot of kiddie fiddling as part of celebrations in respect of a European victory in the Ryder Cup and would even pay the vicar to perform the deed. ‘It is the club tradition’ would appear a weak defence in court.
When I read that in February 2005, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city would never regulate Metzitzah B’Peh, I delved a bit deeper into the history of the issue there. It seems that those favouring the vile practice have blackmailed and bullied local officials into not doing more from a health perspective to enlighten people of its dangers, a minimalist approach given that it should be banned outright. At one point, according to a writer sympathetic to the ritual they made ‘a virtual declaration of war’ to ensure that the city authorities kept their distance. The same writer however went on to defend a mohel who carried it out as ‘a heroic figure who, at great personal sacrifice, has devoted his life to bringing Jewish children and adults into the covenant of /Avraham//Avinu/.’ In the secular world he should be described as a child rapist and put on the sex offender’s register for life. As part of their campaign many Orthodox Jews threatened to wear yellow star armbands in a bid to liken the authorities to the Nazis. The idea was dropped on PR grounds: probably because wiser counsel discerned that endangering children, made one more akin to the Nazis than introducing child protection measures.
While some medical professionals and others within the Jewish community wanted the practice banned altogether many belonging to the Orthodox strand opposed any regulation of the Dark Ages procedure on the grounds that it was purely religious and that if there were concerns over health rabbinic leaders and not the secular authorities should deal with them. If Sharia Law was to suggest something similar there would be an anti-Islamic purge.
At the time, Niall Stanage, drawing on New York Times reportage of the brouhaha commented.
that Orthodox leaders at a recent meeting had made four demands of city health authorities. One was that the commissioner should resign. The second was that the city should stop its current attempts to educate the Orthodox community about the dangers of Metzitza b’peh. The third was that it should stop investigating possible cases of herpes. And the fourth was that it should stop investigating any mohel suspected of transmitting the disease.
Although Mayor Blooomberg claimed ‘it is not the government’s business to tell people how to practice their religion,’ it most certainly should be the government’s responsibility to ensure that religion is not practiced on anybody else and that no child can be sexually assaulted or brutalised by clerics who can subsequently claim, and be afforded, immunity on religious grounds.
Niall Stanage aptly summed up the problem as resulting from the:
kind of thinking that unites religious fanatics of all persuasions. They rail against scrutiny, inquiry, even rational thought itself. Their message: Don’t ask questions. We are right because G-d says so. No civil authority should bow before such nutty fundamentalism. Nor should it try to broker a compromise.