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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →