web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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?

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mu'taz Hijazi
Non-Apartheid Alert: Suspected Shooter Worked in Begin Center
Latest Indepth Stories
Adolf Hitler and the representative of the Palestinian Arabs, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, December, 1941.

Palestinian anti-Semitism in 2014 is more extreme and mainstream than German A/S in the 1930s.

Sheldon Silver

Woven deeply through it all is the Jewish obligation to fight injustice.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Only in the inverted world of academia would Jewish professors denounce the AMCHA Initiative report.

Leb-103114

Many poskim were and are adamant about the responsibility of every individual to vote.

Individuals who may have been abused are the “clients” in need and receiving care and protection.

An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor

The fact that the United States government after World War II sought to take advantage of the expertise of German scientists, even those known to have contributed to the Nazi war effort, is well known and largely accepted as having been necessary for America’s national defense. (Wernher von Braun is perhaps the most famous and […]

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

To say he was beloved because of the way he loved his students does not sufficiently capture the reality.

The birth I speak about is to give birth to ourselves, to our full potential.

The extreme hypocrisy, contempt & vulgarity of the attacks indicate more than a policy disagreement

More Articles from Ben Cohen
Ben Cohen

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

Israel Palestine Flag

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.

Even if Egyptian pressure lead to the collapse of Hamas, Gaza’s problems are unlikely to be solved overnight.

This new mood among Christian Arabs has worried the communists and Arab nationalist.

In this drama, J Street, much like other left-wing groups, is an enthusiastic cheerleader, nothing more.

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: