AJC Welcomes New York Times Editorial on Egyptian President's Remarks

Jan 16, 2013, 13:17 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomed today's New York Times editorial, "President Morsi's Repulsive Comments," following the paper's front-page article on the same topic in yesterday's edition.

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The editorial notes that "His [President Morsi's} comments from nearly three years ago about Zionists and Jews, which just came to light, have raised serious doubts about whether he can ever be the force for moderation and stability that is needed. As reported by David Kirkpatrick in The Times, Mr. Morsi is shown in a video from 2010 delivering a speech in which he urges Egyptians to 'nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for Jews and Zionists.' In a television interview months later, he described Zionists as 'these bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.' That kind of pure bigotry is unacceptable anywhere, anytime. But it is even more unacceptable from someone who becomes the president of a major country. Mr. Morsi's comments deserve to be condemned unequivocally, as the Obama administration did on Tuesday…. The sad truth is that defaming Jews is an all too standard feature of Egyptian, and Arab, discourse.…"

"Yesterday's major article and today's editorial in The Times are much needed in the face of these absolutely vile comments," said David Harris, AJC executive director. "No one should seek to ignore, minimize, or rationalize what the paper appropriately termed 'pure bigotry.' Indeed, the paper might have gone still further in noting that Mr. Morsi, today the leader of the Arab world's most populous country and a recipient of U.S. aid and weaponry, also shockingly labeled President Obama a 'liar' in his comments. And it should be made clear that the phrase he used – 'descendants of apes and pigs' – is standard fare among too many Muslim preachers and other spokesmen when speaking about the Jewish people."

"Moreover," Harris added, "the editorial asks what, to us, is a moot question – 'Does Mr. Morsi really believe what he said in 2010?' Why would he have made his not one, but two sets of remarks, both recorded no less, if he didn't believe what he was saying? And don't those sentiments reflect the outlook of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Morsi's longtime political home, and an exponent of anti-Semitism since its founding more than 80 years ago?"

"AJC has long called for far more diplomatic and media attention to the endemic problem of anti-Semitism in the Arab world – in the mosque, media, classroom, political discourse, and street," Harris concluded. "Too many observers, however, have chosen to overlook or underrate the potency of the issue, or its corrosive effect on creating an environment conducive to peaceful conflict resolution and mutual respect, two of AJC's foremost goals. Mr. Morsi's comments should trigger a new recognition of the depth of the problem and the need to speak up forthrightly in response."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee