Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Enshrining Ideologies: Egypt and the U.S.

January 23, 2013 1:18 am 0 comments

Hillary Clinton meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

For days now, the twittersphere and even the mainstream media have been agog at the anti-Semitism spewing in a now-viral video by Mohammed Morsi in 2010 when he was head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He called President Obama a liar as well, but the administration is doing its best not to let it matter.

It’s not as if they didn’t know. The Muslim Brotherhood is more than 80 years old and is organized around anti-Israel, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic claptrap. It also does not hide its anti-Western, anti-imperialist rhetoric that shares the stage with an interpretation of Islam that is homophobic and misogynistic. Last summer, the Brotherhood’s leader, Mohammed Badie, accused Jews of corrupting the world and slaughtering Palestinians. Essem al Erian, Vice President of the Brotherhood’s political party, last month invited Jews to return to Egypt — not because he likes them, but, as he said, “Why stay in a racist entity, an occupation, and be tainted with war crimes that will be punished? All occupation leaders will be punished.” The “Zionist project,” he added, will end.

It is unimaginable that President Obama thought Morsi would dump the Brotherhood and become a small-d democrat at precisely the moment his party took power in Egypt and he had the opportunity to implement the agenda to which he has devoted his entire adult life: the Muslim Brotherhood. Just as President Obama did not win the American presidency with the intention of governing the way George W. Bush did before him, Morsi did not win to govern as a liberal democrat. His goal, like that of any electoral victor, is to enshrine his views in law and ensure their continuance.

The Obama administration placed a very heavy bet on its ability to manage relations with Morsi, and the world’s discovery of his virulent anti-Semitism will not change it. Key to “managing relations” with Morsi is ignoring almost everything related to the Muslim Brotherhood and everything Morsi does that defies democratic norms. This includes ignoring the Brotherhood’s lie that it would not run candidates for all the seats in Parliament and would not run a presidential candidate. It includes ignoring massacres against the Coptic Christian community; the hasty construction of the constitution; the dismissal of judges; the quick-and-dirty “referendum” that claims 63% of the vote without noting that less than 25% of Egyptians voted; and the December protests. It requires, then, allowing Morsi to run roughshod over the Egyptian people, much as his predecessor did.

The White House stepped gingerly at first. In an interview with Telemundo in September, President Obama hedged: “I don’t think that we would consider (Egypt) an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy. They are a new government that’s trying to find its way.” But by November, Morsi was a star. National Public Radio (NPR) reported, “Analysts say Morsi has proved himself and his organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, to be major political players on the world stage, and if the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel holds, it will be a shining achievement.” According to The New York Times, “Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”

“Surprisingly little ideology” is a strange turn of phrase for an organization that is defined by little else, and a man defined by his organization.

Following the video, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced Islamic anti-Semitism. “The mainstreaming of Jew hatred in the Arab and Muslim world will not only end hopes for any Middle East peace deal, but puts Jews in jeopardy around the world.” He added, “America must not signal that it will be business as usual with the government of the Arab world’s largest and most powerful nation.”

That last bit will fall on deaf ears. Between “business as usual” with Egypt and words coming out of Morsi’s mouth, the words take a distant back seat.

The administration has simply returned language for language. Morsi’s words were met by words from White House press secretary Jay Carney and the State Department’s Victoria Neuland. Carney called the language “deeply offensive.” Neuland said the Egyptian President’s first attempt at an apology wasn’t quite good enough, adding, “(We expect) President Morsi and Egyptian leaders to demonstrate in both word and in deed their commitment to religious tolerance and to upholding all of Egypt’s international obligations.”

But the F-16s will be delivered and aid will go forward.

Discussing the recently finalized U.S. decision to deliver the advanced aircraft to the Egyptian military, retired Brigadier General Safwat Al-Zayat told Al-Ahram Weekly, “It is obvious that the finalisation (sic) of the deal on 11 December, which happened to be at the height of the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square against Morsi, conveyed a political message. Between the lines, Washington was sending a message to three parties. The first was to Morsi and it stated, ‘We support you. Move ahead.’ The second was to the army and it said, ‘We are encouraging this man,’ meaning Morsi. The third was to the opposition forces and it said the same thing.”

In this you have President Obama indeed governing as George W. Bush — and Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, in fact.

Domestic Egyptian politics — including Morsi’s anti-Semitism, which President Obama has no reason to believe is in the past — have been and will remain a distant second priority, to the chagrin of those who thought change in Cairo and change in Washington would produce something better for the Egyptian people.

This article by Shoshana Bryen was originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →