Egyptian President Morsi's anti-Semitism reaches the White House, but will it affect Obama's policy toward Israel?
Dear Friend of FLAME:
As you know, American media work in strange, often bizarre ways, and last week's decision by The New York Times to expose the anti-Semitic garbage spewed by Egypt's current president in 2010 is as inscrutable as any of its reporting.
In case you missed it, Mohammed Morsi had described Israelis as "the descendents of apes and pigs" (and much more) and called for a boycott of the United States.
Of course, Morsi's comments on Egyptian TV long were made long before he was elected to public office---he was then an official in the Muslim Brotherhood---and they have been public for years.
But once the mighty Times picked up the story, the White House quickly issued a condemnation. To his credit, Press Secretary Jay Carney said "The language that we have seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred."
But the cruel irony here is that such language flushes through the sewage system that is Arab (and especially Palestinian) media channels every day of the year. Indeed, such hate speech against Jews is the rule in Arab culture and has been grist for the mill of the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.
Nonetheless, despite the institutionalized anti-Semitism commonplace in the Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab street and Arab media, many liberal commentators, like the Times' own Nicholas Kristoff, depict the Brotherhood and the current Egyptian government as responsible and "moderate."
Surely, President Obama and his state department have known about such attitudes of the Arab world for years, yet have never criticized it and have continued to pressure Israel to make concessions for "peace" with these haters. And of course it's not just the anti-Semitism that Arab leaders regularly espouse, but also the abject, divine necessity of conquering Israel and killing Jews.
But according to the President, the European Union and most U.N. member nations, it's Israel that must lead the way toward peace in the Middle East.
To them we say, "Sorry, but no thanks. Never again."
This week's FLAME Hotline, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch former Muslim and author of "Infidel," now a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, paints a graphic picture of rampant anti-Semitism in Muslim culture and provides her exhortation that the U.S. let Egypt's Morsi know that the peace with Israel must be respected.
I hope you'll pass this revealing article on to your friends, colleagues and fellow congregants using the "send to a friend" button below or the social sharing links above.
Thanks again for your support of Israel and your support of FLAME.
Raised on Hatred
Egypt's newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape about three years ago urging his followers to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred" for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as "bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians," "warmongers" and "descendants of apes and pigs."
These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.
For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as extreme views expressed by radical fringe groups. But they are not. In truth, those Muslims who think of Jews as friends and fellow human beings with a right to their own state are a minority, and are under intense pressure to change their minds.
All over the Middle East, hatred for Jews and Zionists can be found in textbooks for children as young as three, complete with illustrations of Jews with monster-like qualities. Mainstream educational television programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper articles and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats and cockroaches, and also to vampires and a host of other imaginary creatures.
Consider this infamous dialogue between a three-year-old and a television presenter, eight years before Morsi's remarks.
Presenter: "Do you like Jews?"
"Why don't you like them?"
"Jews are apes and pigs."
"Who said this?"
"Where did he say this?"
"In the Koran."
The presenter responds approvingly: "No [parents] could wish for Allah to give them a more believing girl than she ... May Allah bless her, her father and mother."
This conversation was not caught on hidden camera or taped by propagandists. It was featured on a prominent program called "Muslim Woman Magazine" and broadcast by Iqraa, the popular Saudi-owned satellite channel.
It is a major step forward for a sitting U.S. administration and leading American newspapers to unequivocally condemn Morsi's words. But condemnation is just the first move.
Here is an opportunity to acknowledge the breadth and depth of the attitude toward Jews in the Middle East, and how that affects the much desired but elusive peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
So many explanations have been offered for the failure of successive U.S. administrations to achieve that peace, but the answer is in Morsi's words. Why would one make peace with bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and monkeys?
Millions of Muslims have been conditioned to regard Jews not only as the enemies of Palestine but as the enemies of all Muslims, of God and of all humanity. Arab leaders far more prominent and influential than Morsi have been tireless in "educating" or "nursing" generations to believe that Jews are "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs." (These are the words of the Saudi sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam at the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.)
In 2011, a Pew survey found that in Turkey, just 4 percent of those surveyed held a "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable" view of Jews; in Indonesia, 10 percent; in Pakistan 2 percent. In addition, 95 percent of Jordanians, 94 percent of Egyptians and 95 percent of Lebanese hold a "very unfavorable" view of Jews [pdf].
In recent decades Israeli and American administrations negotiated with unelected Arab despots, who played a double game. They honored the formal peace treaties by not conducting military attacks against Israel. But they condoned the Islamists' dissemination of hatred against Israel, Zionism and Jews.
As the Islamists spread their influence through civil institutions, young people were nursed on hatred.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, as the people take a chance on democracy, they and their new leadership want to see their ideals turned into policy.
For too many of those who fought for their own liberation, one of those ideals is the end of peace with Israel. The United States must make clear to Morsi that this is not an option.
This is also a crucial opportunity for the region's secular movements, which must speak out against the clergy's incitement of young minds to hatred. It is time for these secular movements to start a countereducation in tolerance.
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