Revelations that the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, made repeated virulent anti-Semitic and anti-western comments as recently as September 2010 are disturbing, to say the least. Any hopes that an elected Islamist leader of an Arab country can be a voice of moderation and pragmatism toward Israel are now in doubt. Morsi needs to either come clean about his true feelings, or apologize.
The comments have come to light in video available on YouTube. Morsi is seen giving a speech from behind a desk and also appears as a guest on a television talk show. Speaking in his native language, he rails against Israel and against Jews. He calls Jews the descendants of apes and pigs, blood-suckers and warmongers. He says Jews must be driven out of all Arab countries, calls for armed insurrection in the Gaza Strip, and says all Arabs should economically boycott Israel and the United States and support resistance fighters.
The man who is now Egypt's president also calls negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel futile and a waste of time, and says the two-state solution is an illusion.
Morsi is said to be fighting the perception, exploited by his political enemies, that he is too close to U.S. President Barack Obama and too soft on Israel.
In the name of the stability and moderation Morsi has claimed to represent in Egypt, he needs to renounce his ugly statements and reinforce his commitment to peace.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto