White House Condemns Morsi’s Anti-Semitic Remarks, Calls for His Affirmation of Respect for all Faiths
by Zach Pontz
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s antisemitic proclamations, including that Jews are “the descendants of apes and pigs,” may be coming back to haunt him. The comments, made during two separate 2010 interviews, but just now being brought to light because of access to their English translation, also urge violence against Zionists and refers to Jews as bloodsuckers and warmongers.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Morsi’s representatives have repeatedly declined comment over the past three days. The article proceeds to surmise that his camp’s silence can be attributed to “a political bind. While his past comments may be a liability abroad, he faces a political culture at home in which such defamation of Jews is almost standard stump discourse. Any attempt to retract, or even clarify, his slurs would expose him to political attacks by opponents who already accuse him of softness toward the United States and Israel.”
The article quoted Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, as saying, “When the leader of a country has a history of statements demonizing Jews, and he does not do anything to correct it, it makes sense that many people in Israel would conclude that he cannot be trusted as a partner for peace.”
At a White House Press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney condemned the remarks:
“We strongly condemn the remark that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010. The language that we have seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This discourse–this is a broader point–this kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long and it’s counter to the goal of peace. 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. Since taking office President Morsi has reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to its peace treaty with Israel in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us towards shared objectives including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year. These commitments are essential to our bi-lateral relations with Egypt as well as for stability in the region.”