This fall, the denizens of San Francisco will have an opportunity to, once and for all, ban us pesky Jews from their fair city.
Other cities have tried to drive out Jews in the past, notably Berlin. But few have managed to completely rid themselves of us tenacious tefillin-lovers as elegantly as the proponents of a ban on circumcision might do in San Fran.
To be fair, the proposition placed before voters will not explicitly call for the ouster of Jews from San Francisco. Instead, proponents of the ban will merely make the central covenant of our faith a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine or a year in jail. It’s like they’re saying, “You can be Jewish here. You just can’t, you know, practice Judaism.”
Equally enlightened societies, such as Soviet-era Russia and ancient Greece and Rome had such bans, but they made their laws with iron-fisted, unabashed anti-Semitism. San Francisco’s proposition is genius, because it carries the patina of social activism and concern for innocent little babies. Proponents promise that they’re not against Jews; they just think we’ve been mutilating our children for thousands of years and need to be arrested. No hard feelings.
Outcry over this insidious anti-Semitism quashed the effort to create a similar proposition in Santa Monica before proponents even collected their first signatures. But San Franciscans will still get to cast their lots, and no doubt other cities will follow.
Marc Stern, associate general counsel for the American Jewish Committee, told the New York Times, “People are shocked that it has reached this level, because there has never been this kind of a direct assault on a Jewish practice here.”
Stern and others believe that even if the ban passes in San Francisco, it will likely get thrown out as unconstitutional.
But until it wended its way through the courts, what could a NoCal Jewish family do? Faced with possible jail time, I wouldn’t want to raise my family in a city where, clearly, I wasn’t wanted. I’m not sure that San Francisco’s Jews will leave in droves, but if this thing passes, no doubt some will. [They couldn’t at least have popped this on us during the height of the housing bubble?]
If San Fran’s Jews do leave, they will need to be careful where they go: Anti-Semitism masquerading as activism is on the rise. The main perpetrator behind the bill, Matthew Hess, is based just below our belts in San Diego, so look forward to his foreskin-agenda penetrating Orange County soon, too.
[For the three of you who have not heard of Hess, he draws comic books portraying mohels as crazy-eyed, blood stained butchers and gun-toting peyot-wearing gangsters. But, he swears he’s not anti-Semitic. Just, I guess, a student of 1930s German art?]
Other proponents of San Francisco’s bill will also tell you that the proposed ban is not anti-Semitic. But I highly doubt that city’s Jewish people feel embraced by their neighbors right now. I just hope that if any Jews do move as a result of this controversy, they’ll feel free to leave their hearts in San Francisco – without having to take their kids’ foreskin with them.