On his nationally syndicated radio show on Monday, conservative host Michael Savage slammed metzitzah b’peh, the Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual that has led to the transmission of herpes in infant males.
Savage, citing a Fox News online article headlined, “Two infants contract herpes following circumcision,” said it was a story “that shakes you to your core.” However, the original posting of the Fox News article had inaccuracies, such as claiming that one of the children also contracted HIV. Last week, the New York City department of health and mental hygiene announced that a second child this year had been diagnosed with herpes after circumcision, but no case has ever led to the transmission of HIV.
The Yeshiva News posted the original Fox News article on their website. It said, “After undergoing an orthodox circumcision ritual, two infant boys have contracted herpes—with one testing positive for HIV-1, the New York City Department of Health said yesterday.”
The parents of the child in the most recent case did not identify the name of the mohel who performed the procedure, nor did they sign a consent form to have the risky procedure done, which is a new regulation in New York City. The DOHMH said they will not pursue legal action in this case, despite the absence of a form.
Savage, in describing the oral suctioning technique of metzitzah b’peh, said he was “sickened by this barbarism” and devoted the entire hour of his show to the topic.