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              White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

White House downplays Morsi’s anti-Semitic ‘apes and pigs’ rants

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s spokesman is downplaying venomously anti-Semitic statements by Egypt’s new Islamist president, who said that Jews are “apes and pigs” and must be hated by Muslim children.

Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi, “has demonstrated in word and deed his commitment to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. … He obviously worked with us to resolve … a ceasefire … — in the Gaza conflict last year,” spokesman Jay Carney said during the Jan. 15 White House press conference.

U.S. policy is focused on Morsi’s actions, not words, Carney said.

“So this is about action; it’s about deeds,” he said.

Carney added that Morsi “should make clear that he respects people of all faiths, and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt.”

“Acceptable? It is the norm now,” said Barry Rubin, a regional expert and the director of Global Research in International Affairs.

Morsi’s statements were “not equivalent to an American politician making a gaffe … but are a core aspect of the Islamist and [Muslim] Brotherhood ideology, from which its policy behavior will flow,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which the White House helped rise to power in Egypt, has been “always honest [about] deep hatred of Jews,” said a Jan. 15 tweet from Eric Trager, a Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“That Morsi’s ‘apes & pigs’ remark is news reinforces how delusional [the established American] media’s MB coverage has been,” he added.

The statements, which were described in The Daily Caller and other mainstream outlets in early January, were only highlighted Jan. 15 by The New York Times, which is widely read by progressives. (RELATED: Morsi “apes and pigs” statements highlight Obama’s Egypt problem, expert say)

The Times article, which was the first mention of the comments in an established media outlet, prompted Carney’s limited response.

However, neither the Times nor Carney mentioned the close ties between Morsi’s statements, orthodox Islamic texts and the Muslim Brotherhood’s goal of destroying Israel and establishing an Islamic theocracy from Spain to India.

No reporter asked Carney if officials will cancel a possible March meeting between Obama and Morsi, nor if Obama had changed his favorable view of Morsi.

Since 2009, Obama’s Arab-region strategy has gambled that the region’s popular Islamist movements would become more moderate if allowed to gain power. In 2012, for example, Obama urged the Egyptian military to steer clear of politics while the Muslim Brotherhood won elections in Egypt.