web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Morsi’s Anti-Semitism Reveals More About Us Than Him

Egyptian President Mahmoud Morsi

Egyptian President Mahmoud Morsi
Photo Credit: YY

It’s a story that began with an eagle-eyed Jewish blogger who writes under the pseudonym “Challah Hu Akbar” and progressed all the way to the White House. In the process, it has reignited the debate as to whether Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, is really the pragmatic moderate many believe him to be.

On Jan. 3, Challah Hu Akbar tweeted an item from the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in which Morsi, in a 2010 speech, uttered what is a standard Islamist anti-Semitic slander, namely that Zionists are descended from “apes and pigs.” A little more than a week later, noticing that Morsi’s statement had barely registered with the wider media, The Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a blog post with the headline, “Egyptian President Calls Jews ‘Sons of Apes and Pigs;’ World Yawns.” At Forbesmagazine, Richard Behar made an identical point, adding that in the same set of remarks, Morsi had called for a boycott of the United States – whose taxpayers have provided Egypt with billions of dollars in aid – because of its support for Israel.

Eventually, the Morsi story found its way into The New York Times, which felt duty-bound to point out that “Mr. Morsi and other political and Brotherhood leaders typically restrict their inflammatory comments to the more ambiguous category of ‘Zionists.’ ”

Actually, it’s not ambiguous at all. Especially since the Second World War, the word “Zionist” has always been code for “Jew” in the capitals of the Muslim world, as well as in the capitals of the late, unlamented communist bloc of states. And in case there were any lingering doubt, a subsequent Morsi item posted by MEMRI, also from 2010, showed the Muslim Brotherhood leader helpfully urging his people “not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred toward those Zionists and Jews.”

Unusually, given the prevailing view that accusations of anti-Semitism are a smear cooked up by an unscrupulous Jewish – sorry, I mean Israel – Lobby, condemnation of Morsi did follow. The New York Timespublished an editorial urging President Obama to directly convey to Morsi that such offensive comments ran counter to the goal of peace. White House spokesman Jay Carney also issued a statement, declaring, “President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt.”

Of course, no apology from the Egyptians was forthcoming. Instead, Yasser Ali, Morsi’s spokesman, claimed his boss’s comments had been taken “out of context,” and were really directed at Israeli “aggression” in Gaza. In fact, Ali’s statement is far less stupid than initially appears; anti-Semites in the Arab world know there is a strong current of opinion in the West that regards their fulminations against Jews as justified, if unfortunately-worded, anger towards Israel. Ali was playing to that particular gallery.

And that leads to a broader, far more important observation. In its editorial, the Times asked, “Does Mr. Morsi really believe what he said in 2010? Has becoming president made him think differently about the need to respect and work with all people?” Disgracefully, the Times also argued, “Israelis are not immune to responding in kind either” (a sentence that appeared to have been overlooked by establishment Jewish groups like the American Jewish Committee, which rushed to welcome the editorial.)

As for the White House’s Carney, his statement categorized Morsi’s remarks as “religious hatred,” a term that barely scratches the surface of what is really at issue here.

For the Morsi affair tells us much more about how anti-Semitism is understood in the West than it does about the nature of Islamist anti-Semitism. If the Times is to be believed, the episode is merely a depressing example of how both sides dehumanize each other with nasty rhetoric. Similarly, the White House wants us to think Morsi’s offense was religious intolerance.

Anti-Semitism isn’t just another form of bigotry. It is a method of explaining why the world is as it is; incendiary rhetoric against Jews, therefore, isn’t just an afterthought, but the natural consequence of the genuinely held belief that our planet is in the grips of a Jewish conspiracy. One has to assume the Times would not have questioned whether the anti-Semitic outlooks of Hitler and Stalin were genuinely held, so why do so with Morsi?

There are two reasons. First, the misguided view that anti-Semitism is essentially a European phenomenon and thus an alien import into the Muslim world that will disappear once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. That reflects, second, an enormous ignorance about the origins of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world and its centrality to the Muslim Brotherhood’s worldview.

In his book Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman quotes Sayid Qutb, the leading theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was formed in 1928, as writing that “most evil theories which try to destroy all values and all that is sacred to mankind are advocated by Jews.” Berman painstakingly documents Qutb’s frankly Hitlerian view of the Jewish role in world history, including his repeated assertions that Jews had conspired against Muslims from the dawn of Islam.

These were the ideological foundations of the Muslim Brotherhood then, and they remain firmly in place now. Any compromise with the Jews, such as a peace treaty with Israel, would therefore be another twist in the same conspiracy. According to Qutb and his followers, the only honorable path is to vanquish the Jews entirely.

These are the same beliefs of Mohamed Morsi. They may be insidious, but they are authentically held. Asking him to recant them, as the White House did, is like asking Hitler to apologize for Mein Kampf.

A far more productive approach would be to integrate the persistence of Islamist anti-Semitism into policy analysis of our relationship with Egypt. Critically, we need to ask whether someone who really believes there is a hidden Jewish conspiracy at work – and that, consequently, political relationships are camouflage for that – can be a partner in any sense of that term.

Going by their reactions to Morsi’s remarks, neither this White House nor its supporters in the commentariat are up to that task.

About the Author: Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, and other publications. His book “Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Century Antisemitism” (Edition Critic, 2014), is available through Amazon.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Morsi’s Anti-Semitism Reveals More About Us Than Him”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization President Mohammad Sarafraz.
US Claims ‘No More Extensions’ on Nuclear Talks with Iran
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Ayelet Shaked

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

More Articles from Ben Cohen
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reviewing one of Iran's nuclear plants.

The Middle East has rapidly changed for the worse the past five years. The worst may be yet come.

Cohen-020615

UN Amb Prosor: Anti-Semitism “can even be found in the halls of UN disguised as umanitarian concern”

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

The coalition the US has assembled to fight ISIS is based on an immediate coincidence of interest.

A growing chorus of influential voices is arguing that Israel needs to finish the job in Gaza.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

As of this moment, the Kurds have little reason to hold back from declaring independence.

While Jews are just one percent of the French population, 40 percent of French racist assaults target Jews.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/morsis-anti-semitism-reveals-more-about-us-than-him/2013/01/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: