Morsi’s Context of Hate
Jonathan S. Tobin
The truth about the disgusting anti-Semitism that is at the core of the belief system of the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt is finally gaining the attention it deserves. As we wrote yesterday, the belated coverage given by the New York Times yesterday puts the Obama administration’s embrace of the regime of President Mohamed Morsi in an extremely unflattering light. But when put on the spot about the video in which Morsi employed a standard Islamic epithet for Jews calling Israelis “the descendants of apes and pigs,” the White House and the State Department both condemned the Egyptian president’s statements, as did the Times in an editorial. But when a delegation of visiting U.S. senators confronted Morsi today over his hate speech, they got the sort of answer that ought to make Congress as well as the administration reconsider the continuation of the massive aid package that Egypt receives.
According to Reuters, Morsi told a group of senators, including John McCain and Richard Blumenthal, that his remarks were taken out of context. What conceivable context could justify this sort of hate? Morsi said his comments should be understood as an understandable response to Israel’s counterattack against terrorist rocket fire from Gaza. In other words, in the view of Egypt’s president an Israel willing to defend itself against the rocket attacks launched by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Hamas ally is excuse for any sort of vile slander against the Jewish people or the United States. That may make sense in an Egyptian political culture in which anti-Semitism has become so drilled into the minds of the people by groups like the Brotherhood as to be unexceptionable. But it can only be a reminder to Americans that while we desire friendship with the Egyptian people, there can be no question of further American subsidies for a regime that is built on hate.
Ever since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, much of the American media as well as the administration has chosen to buy into the myth that the Brotherhood is composed of well meaning moderate Muslims who aren’t different from any other political or social party except for the fact that they take their faith seriously. That was always a transparent lie easily dismissed by those who knew anything about the Brotherhood’s history and ideology. But the notice given to the Morsi video, unearthed by the essential Memri.org group that monitors the Arab media, has made it impossible for Washington to go on pretending that normal, friendly relations were truly possible with Cairo while it was ruled by Morsi and his party.
There will be those who will argue that while Morsi’s calumnies are to be condemned, they are matched by hate speech uttered by Israelis. The Times slipped in a piece of this sort of false moral equivalence in its editorial when it stated:
The sad truth is that defaming Jews is an all too standard feature of Egyptian, and Arab, discourse; Israelis are not immune to responding in kind either.
While it cannot be denied that individual Israelis are as capable of uttering vile things as any other group of humans, there is no comparison between stray haters and the way anti-Semitism and hatred of the West is mainstream discourse in the Muslim and Arab worlds. It should also be pointed out that while hatred of Jews and Israel is part of the standard curricula in Arab countries (this is especially the case in Gaza and the West Bank), peace education is standard in Israeli schools. Israel’s leaders, be they from the left or the right, have always condemned hate against Arabs as well as instances of violence or discrimination. To mention Israeli attitudes against Arabs in the same breath with a discussion of the Arab and Muslim prejudice against Jews that fuels the ongoing war against the Jewish state is to turn the truth on its head.
It is to be hoped that McCain and Blumenthal and their colleagues will return home from Cairo determined to press the administration to stop coddling Morsi and the Brotherhood as well as to put a hold on any further disbursement of the billions in U.S. taxpayer cash to Egypt. If they don’t, Morsi will be forgiven for concluding that he is free to say and do anything he likes without fear of being held accountable by his American patrons.