Secretary Clinton’s remarks on Sunday, unfortunately, reveal how prescient Horovitz was when he wrote this editorial. Indeed, he notes that Washington’s new policy shows that when NSC official Dan Shapiro last week told Jewish leaders that the administration would not deal with the Brotherhood, he was being disingenuous. And Robert Gibbs’ statement two days earlier, that the United States would welcome “important non-secular actors” in a democratic Egypt, also clearly was announcing that it would accept the Brotherhood, without openly mentioning their name.
Does our administration really want the Muslim Brotherhood to play a role in a new Egypt? They very well might follow the same path as the mullahs who eventually took power in Iran in 1979, moving to abandon their would-be moderation when the time for doing so arrived. Noting that many in our media have been presenting the MB as “benign,” Horovitz writes that “the Brotherhood is committed to death-cult jihad in the cause of widened Islamist rule, was the progenitor of Hamas and central to Islamist radicalization among the Palestinians. And its popularity was evident in that impressive 2005 parliamentary performance, achieved, it should be stressed, despite the Mubarak-orchestrated unfavorable circumstances.”
Most distressing, Horovitz notes that even as shrewd and connected an observer as the neo-conservative Robert Kagan has “scathingly marginalized the threat.” Yet, as Horovitz notes, the Brotherhood’s role has increased visibly the past few days, as they have managed checkpoints at Liberation Square, notably taken to the protests as a group, and begun to court the press. Their original absence, a result of what was clearly a leadership decision, was incorrectly taken to prove to the world that they were of minimal importance, and to “maximize domestic support for the uprising.” Now, when their first moment has arrived, they have upped the ante, and our administration has responded in kind — welcoming their participation.
So when we say we favor democracy for the Egyptian people, keep in mind what poll results show. As Horovitz points out, a Pew poll taken a few months ago reveals that “82% of Egyptian Muslims favor stoning people who commit adultery; 77% favor whipping/ cutting off of hands for theft and robbery; and 84% favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion, it found. By way of comparison, the comparable percentages in Turkey, even as it submits to growing Islamist influence, were just 16%, 13% and 5% respectively.” The same poll revealed that 54% of Egyptian Muslims believe suicide bombings can be justified often.
Last Thursday, a leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsy, made it clear that his group would not commit itself to maintain the Egypt-Israel peace treaty or recognize Israel and would continue to oppose Zionism while, he said, opposing the use of violence. But as he went on to explain, what the opponents of Israel did in Palestine was not violence, but “resistance,” which was “acceptable by all mankind,” since it “is the right of people to resist imperialism.”
Horovitz ends by asking a simple question of the leaders of the United Sta5tes: Why “would the US government help legitimate, on yet another of our new unstable frontiers, a bleak, benighted movement that can be guaranteed to use any influence it accrues to undermine those shared interests and values [of the United States and Israel]?”
Why indeed? It is a good question, one Americans should ask of both President Obama and Secretary Clinton.