Appalling: In a new low, New York City mayoral candidate Eric Salgado lies, claiming "rabbis" agreed to a DNA test to prove metziztah b'peh (MBP), the direct mouth-to-bloody-penis sucking done by many haredi mohels after cutting of the foreskin, does not transmit herpes to newborns when in fact, haredi rabbis ordered families not to tell the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene the identity of the mohel who infected their baby. Salgado also misrepresents the science of the issue and its history.
I've written extensively over the years about DNA and herpes. Basically, it works like this:
• The lesion has to be tested, but lesions come and go very rapidly – so rapidly that a mohel who infects a baby on Tuesday is unlikely to have a visable lesion by the tame the baby's illness is apparent – and are notoriously difficult to test.
• A herpes carrier can transmit even when no lesion is showing.
• Even if both the transmitter and receiver are tested, getting a match is difficult – and this is true even when the only way for the virus to have been transmitted is from that transmitter. That's largely due to the nature of the herpes virus.
• Mohels have consistently refused to be tested.
• Haredi rabbis have repeatedly refused to mandate testing and have instead successfully tried to obstruct it.
Past all this, long before Salgado made this video, I sent Salgado a list of hundreds of cases of various types of serious disease transmission to babies from mohels who did MBP on them. I asked Salgado to explain his position on MBP in light of this data. Salgado did not respond.
So Salgado is not simply ill-informed – he's a liar. And what that says about him as a human being, let alone as someone who wants to be in a position of authority over people, is truly appalling:
Update 10:55 pm CDT – Here's the longer version of Salgado's remarks that opens with Rami Cohen's endorsement of Salgado: