Egyptian Politician Talks of War With U.S., Media Yawns

June 11, 2013 6:36 am 6 comments

Protestors outside Egyptian Parliament in February 2011. Photo: wiki commons.

This is getting ridiculous. You’d think the media has an agenda or something.

On June 3, an Egyptian prominent Egyptian politician spoke openly – on live television – about turning a regional conflict with Ethiopia over water from the Nile River into a war with the United States and Israel.

You’d think that this would be important news worthy of coverage in the United States, maybe even a front-page story. It raises a number of important questions about the nature of the regime currently governing Egypt, which receives a substantial amount of military aid from the United States.

But instead of giving the story the attention it deserves, media outlets in the United States have ignored the story. The one media outlet that did acknowledge the story, the New York Times published a blog entry a few days later, but this entry ignores the most truculent statement made by the cabinet member.

Video of the meeting is available on YouTube courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). President Morsi called the meeting to sound out his cabinet about how to respond to Ethiopian plans to build a dam on the Nile River. The dam could result in less water for the Egyptian economy, which relies on the Nile for its water.

When the meeting began, the attendees did not know the proceedings were being broadcast live on Egyptian television. During this part of the meeting, cabinet members spoke about the prospects of using the Egyptian intelligence service to destabilize the Ethiopian government in an effort to stop the dam’s construction. This by itself is news, because it indicates that conflict over water from the Nile River could provoke a war with Ethiopia.

Things got interesting when Magdi Hussein, Chairman of Egypt’s Islamic Labor Party stated that the conflict over the Nile was not just with Israel but with the United States and Israel. According to the MEMRI translation, Hussein said he was “very fond of battles.” He continued:

With the enemies of course—with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with judiciousness and calm.

He then called for the attendees to swear themselves to secrecy as they prepare for a confrontation. “We need a popular plan for popular national security.”

As he spoke, someone handed Hussein a note, prompting him to say: “Okay … fine… The principles behind what I’m saying are not really secret… Our war is with America and Israel, not with Ethiopia. Therefore engaging in a war… This is my opinion….”

Egyptian President Morsi interrupted the discussion and stated, “This meeting is being aired live on TV.” His announcement evoked a round of embarrassed laughter.

Did Hussein shut up after being told he was on live television?

No!

He doubled down with his rhetoric stating, that shutting off the water from the Nile would “turn the Egyptians into the world’s most extremist people.” (As if they aren’t already.)

He continued: “Imagine what this people would do if its water were turned off—what 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water was turned off.”

What Hussein has just done is threaten to turn a local conflict over water from the Nile River into a regional and global conflict with Israel and the United States.

Later in MEMRI’s video, Morsi is seen offering a corrective, stating that Egypt has a lot of respect for the Ethiopian people. “We are not about to start aggression against anyone whatsoever or affront anyone whatsoever.”

The upshot is this: Without knowing that the camera was rolling, prominent Egyptian politicians spoke openly about undermining the Ethiopian government in response to the construction of a damn.

Then one of the members brought America and Israel into the discussion and made it clear that he has hostile intentions toward these countries as well. He declared them enemies.

To make it all even more alarming, this same politician then upped the ante when he realized his message was being broadcast on live television, using the presence of the cameras and microphones as an opportunity to incite hostility toward the United States and Israel.

And to top it off, the story hardly got any coverage in American media. It hardly showed up on a search on Nexis. The story did however, get covered in the Egyptian media.

To its credit, The New York Times did cover the story with a blog entry, but even this entry omits the quote: “Imagine what this people would do if its water were turned off—what 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water was turned off.”

By way of comparison, when Presidential candidate George Bush and his running mate Dick Cheney made a derogatory remark about New York Times reporter Adam Clymer, in a ‘hot mic’ incident of their own during the 2000 campaign, it got a huge amount of coverage. (In the week after the faux pas, it was mentioned in almost 300 news stories.)

This episode reveals the un-professionalism of both the Egyptian leaders and that of American news outlets.

Dexter Van Zile (@dextervanzile) is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (@cameraorg).

6 Comments

  • E.S.Lombard

    It would be wise for voters to hold their candidates to the issues immediately at hand without devious references to external, historic, hopeless issues that are intended to distract from problems that must be solved here and now and immediately. Histrionics and slogans are never the answer however diverting.

  • get an editor who can proofread mistakes like “the conflict over the Nile was not just with Israel but with the United States and Israel”, and who knows how to spell “dam”.

  • the media is not reporting facts….the media is “explaining” facts, the media is making kings….and presidents. Why are so surprised? this is really old news.

  • yes, this outrageous news has to get the attention of US government and the global medias.

  • Don corrigan

    What a difference funding and a border makes. In USA the msm is terrified of upsetting the lefties and the Islamists who would punish the advertisers. In Canada we have a publically funded network, the CBC, which goes out of its way to cater to the lefties and Islamists knowing full well that the government can not cut funding without loosing seats in parliament. There is only one network that voices the unpopular truth. Sun TV and it is privately owned

  • Fredric M. London

    It just goes to show there are no limits as to how extremely unscrupulous is the media. Imagine, in the days of an independent media, what attention this would have merited? But, both sets of media reports exactly what it wants to, and ignores what it does not, regardless of how ethically bankrupt and unprofessional is this behavior.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.