The PJ Tatler

Mohammed Morsi is Not Tom Petty

Egypt’s Islamist president will, in fact, back down.

Egypt’s Islamist president sought Wednesday to defuse Washington’s anger over his past remarks urging hatred of Jews and calling Zionists “pigs” and “bloodsuckers,” telling visiting U.S. senators that his comments were a denunciation of Israeli policies.

Morsi’s remarks came from a mix of speeches he made in 2010 when he was a leading Brotherhood figure. The remarks were revived when an Egyptian TV show aired them to highlight and mock Morsi’s current policies. On Tuesday, the White House denounced the comments as “deeply offensive.”

In the video, Morsi refers to “Zionists” as “bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians” as well as “the descendants of apes and pigs.” He says Egyptians should nurse their children on “hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews. They must be breast-fed hatred.” He also calls President Barack Obama a liar.

Even an Islamist nutcake can’t be wrong all the time.

Basically, Mo wants mo American tanks and airplanes. US Senators Graham and McCain having been using Morsi’s garden-variety-for-a-Muslim-Brotherhood-member comments to point out that arming him to the teeth may not be in US interests.

Morsi told them distinction must be made between criticism of what he called the “racist” policies of the Israelis against the Palestinians and insults against the Jewish faith.

Morsi also told them the remarks were part of a speech against Israeli aggression in Gaza and “assured them of his respect for monotheistic religions, freedom of belief and the practice of religions,” Ali said.

Despite the explanation, Morsi went beyond attacking “Zionists” to directly refer to Jews and used traditional anti-Semitic slurs like “pigs.”

It’s easy to explain what’s going on here. Morsi’s old comments came in the context of him having little expectation of actually taking over Egypt, so he said what he really thinks. You don’t become a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood because you’re keen on interfaith dialogues.