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.

However, the new Islamist governments in Egypt, Libya, Turkey and Tunisia have not stopped jihadi terrorism, nor curbed anti-American political groups or anti-Jewish invective.

In Libya and Egypt, they also failed to stop jihadi attacks on U.S. diplomats in September, or on Israeli civilians in November.

One reason for continuing attacks and invective is that polls show that many Muslims believe that Islam endorses jihadi attacks on Jews and non-Muslims.

On Jan. 15, the New York Times quoted Morsi’s 2010 videotaped statement that Israeli Jews are “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”

The “apes and pigs” description is a quote from the Quran, which Muslims regard as the direct and unalterable command of their deity, Allah. The video was publicized by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Morsi also said Jews caused conflict and wars long before the creation of Israel in 1948.

“They have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout their history,” he said, highlighting other Islamic texts that condemn Jews for not accepting the new Islamic religion in the 620s.

“They are hostile by nature,” he said of Jews, echoing the Quran’s statements that “you shall always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them … they strive to make mischief in the land.”

In a 2010 rally in his home-town, Morsi told voters that “we must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews,” according to the Times report.

Muslim children “must feed on hatred; hatred must continue. … The hatred must go on for Allah and as a form of worshiping him. Who is our enemy? The Zionists. Who occupies our land? The Zionists. Who hates us? The Zionists. Who destroys our lands? The Zionists,” he declared in the rally, which was broadcast in part in Egypt on Jan. 11.

On Jan. 15, Carney denounced the comments, but did not criticize Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, or their beliefs.

“We strongly condemn the remarks that then-Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi made in 2010,” he said. “The language that we have seen is deeply offensive … and we have raised our concerns over these remarks with the government of Egypt.”

The language “is counter to the long-term interests of everyone in the region who hopes for peace and greater prosperity,” said Carney.

The administration’s response “arises from the pseudo-Realist view that ideology and worldview doesn’t matter because leaders will always follow the eternal material interests of their countries,” said Rubin. “In fact, though, the key factor is how leaders perceive national interest.”

Without recognition that foreign leaders may have foreign goals, that diverse cultures has truly diverse goals, “modern history — including Communism, fascism, Nazism, Arab nationalism, and Islamism — becomes incomprehensible,” Rubin told TheDC.

Muslim Brotherhood officials have repeatedly said their top goal is not peace or economic prosperity, but to establish Islam’s laws, dubbed Shariah. During the May 2012 round of elections, for example, Morsi told a rally that his top political goal is establishing “the Shariah, then the Shariah, and finally, the Shariah.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political symbol shows a Quran and two crossed swords. Its motto declares that “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

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