If there were an Olympics for lying, the winner of this year’s gold medal for prevarication would be Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi.
Of course heads of state lie, but rarely do they display it with such chutzpah. The recent sleight-of-hand involving a president-to-president exchange would shock even cynics.
The letter in question was an apparent peace offering to Israeli president Shimon Peres, written by Morsi, the newly elected president of Egypt. Understanding its importance, Peres’s office released Morsi’s letter expressing best wishes to “the Israeli people” while thanking Peres for his missive congratulating Morsi on his election.
No sooner had the media run with the story than word came from Cairo that — you guessed it — Morsi denies he ever sent the letter.
Who you gonna believe: Morsi or Morsi?
This is not a case like the forged “Hitler Diaries.” No need for a graphologist to determine whether the henpecks are really Morsi’s.
The truth is as obvious as the nose on the face of the Sphinx, shot off by a medieval zealot who undoubtedly would have joined the Muslim Brotherhood had it existed back then.
Even the “blind sheikh,” Omar Abdul Rahman — serving a life sentence for masterminding the murderous 1993 attack on the World Trade Center — whom Morsi is asking President Obama to pardon, could tell you that Morsi is actually practicing tequila – the approved art of lying to confuse infidels.
We all hope the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leader occupies the top civilian post in the Arab world’s largest nation, will change its stripes now that it has power. But the world needs to verify before trusting. Here’s a reminder of the Brotherhood’s horrific track record:
* Assassinated Anwar Sadat for the sin of making peace with Israel.
* For half a century denounced the very concept of democracy as a heretical western import before a miraculous last-minute conversion in time to run Morsi for president.
* In the recent presidential campaign supporters intimidated many Christian Copts — ten percent of Egypt population — from voting against their man.
* Refuses to disavow Sharia law, imposing death sentences for homosexuals, adulterers, and Muslims who convert to another religion.
* Believes women are unfit to run for president.
* Has threatened to tear up Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel as soon as politically possible.
* Has urged its American followers to prepare for “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
During last year’s parliamentary campaign, the Brotherhood convened at Cairo’s most prominent mosque a genocidal hate fest orchestrated by senior activists vowing, “one day kill all Jews” and “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Judgment Day is coming!”
That did not stop Washington from extending informal feelers to the Brotherhood that made predictions of a Brotherhood election victory almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And there was this Alice in Wonderland-like musing by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before a Congressional committee: “The term Muslim Brotherhood is an umbrella term for a variety of movements. In the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
Of course, even during the coldest years of the Cold War we negotiated with the Soviet Union — and in 2012 it is necessary that the U.S. conduct diplomatic relations with Egypt’s Islamist government, beneficiary of billions of dollars in ongoing American aid to the Egyptian people.
But while negotiating with Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Company, we never pretended that communism was “democracy, Russian-style” or that the KGB was as benign as the Boy Scouts. We mustn’t deceive ourselves about the Muslim Brotherhood.
This criticism is not directed exclusively at the present administration; the prior Bush administration “engaged” the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist spawn, Hamas, before it swept the 2006 Palestinian elections, staged a Gaza coup, and began firing thousands of missiles into Israel.
More crucial than deciphering Morsi’s handwriting, Washington should be setting clear parameters and red lines for America’s relationship with Egypt’s new president. The fate of the entire Middle East could be hanging in the balance.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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