Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Jewry

Close inspection of Essam El-Erian's problematic statement calling Israelis of Egyptian ancestry to return to Egypt reveals Brotherhood leader's true motives

Khaled Fahmy , Sunday 6 Jan 2013
Ahram Online

".......The last problem is not about El-Erian’s futuristic predictions but about his interpretation of the past. El-Erian did not even attempt to deny or refute the common belief that those responsible for the departure of Jews was not Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s regime alone but also the policies and activities of the Brotherhood, an organisation El-Erian himself belongs to.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Brotherhood did not view Egyptian Jews as full-fledged citizens and always doubted their loyalty to Egypt. Dozens of articles published in Brotherhood magazines were outrightly anti-Semitic and utterly failed to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.

Example of anti-Semitic pronouncements and publications by Brotherhood members are too numerous to cite, however, one telling example is the article titled ‘The Threat of Jews on the Islamic and Christian Worlds’ published in the Brotherhood’s Al-Nadheer magazine in 1938 which claimed that Jews were the real colonisers of India, not the British.
Brotherhood youth groups also carried out a series of attacks on Jewish synagogues and shops, even against those businesses not owned by Zionists on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on 2 and 3 November 1945.

There was even more violence against Jewish interests in Cairo and Alexandria that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Nokrashi Pasha in 1948, when Brotherhood members marched to the Jewish Quarter in Moski district of Cairo chanting “Ennaharda el-sabt we bokra el-hadd” (Today is Saturday, and tomorrow is Sunday): a sinister reference to what was to await Coptic Christians now that the fate of the Egyptian Jews had been sealed.
Does El-Erian truly believe that his generous offer to Egyptian Jews will erase the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloody record?

Despite these problematic issues, it remains that El-Erian’s offer is based on a noble principle, namely that our conflict with Zionists is a moral one and that it is possible to imagine the end of Zionism.
But El-Erian, do you honestly expect Jews to leave the country they now live in for another that has just passed a Constitution that does not treat citizens equally, that has allotted a significant role for Egypt's highest Islamic authority Al-Azhar in interpreting the Constitution and that has laid down the first block of a religious state?"

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