News / Middle East

Egypt Grapples with Anti-Israel Sentiment

Egypt Leaders Grapple with Anti-Israel Sentimenti
|| 0:00:00
X
March 19, 2013 1:37 PM
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has raised questions about the commitment of Islamist leaders to the peace treaty with Israel. Although President Mohamed Morsi has pledged to honor the deal, he must grapple with long-held Egyptian opposition to the Israeli state. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports from Cairo.

Egypt Leaders Grapple with Anti-Israel Sentiment

Elizabeth Arrott
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has raised questions about the Islamist leaders' commitment to the peace treaty brokered with Israel 30 years ago.

President Mohamed Morsi has pledged to honor the deal, despite the brotherhood's long opposition to the Israeli state.
 
"Definitely the peace has to be based on justice, OK, but Egypt is in no position right now to get into conflict with anybody," says Amr Darrag, a senior official in the brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. "As a responsible political force, we respect all the commitments of the state with others, whether we like it or not, at the times these commitments were made.”

As a sign of how unpopular the peace deal is among Egyptians, even such hedged promises draw criticism, not just from Morsi's fundamentalist rivals, but also from his secular, liberal opponents.  

"Part of the criticism to Morsi is that he has proven himself a bit too pragmatic to many of us," says political activist Wael Khalil. "This is the brotherhood who...this is central to politics. This was most central thing to their politics, the question of Palestine, the question of occupation.”

The issue is central to Egyptians across the political spectrum, according to Khalil.
 
"It is a passage to politicization of many of us," he says. "I was politicized on the Palestinian question, the street protests and the opposition to [former president] Mubarak started in solidarity with the uprising, the second uprising intifada in 2000 and 2002.”   
 
Khalil concedes some Egyptians interchange the ideas of anti-Zionism and prejudice toward Jews.   
 
Prior to his political rise, Morsi was videotaped making anti-Jewish slurs, which he now argues were comments critical of Zionism.  

Despite a once-thriving Jewish community in Egypt, both sentiments now appear deeply engrained.
 
Former intelligence officer Sameh Saif al-Yazal says politicians know that all too well.
 
"That's a card that lots of people play," al-Yazal says. "When you attack Israel, then you get a reputation in the street. The people, they do that in Egypt because of that.”

But al-Yazal argues practicality trumps rhetoric, pointing to frequent, close contact between Israel and Egypt on economic, military and political matters.
 
"Forget about what you see in the newspaper and what you hear on the TV," he says. "The reality is that the two countries are doing normal, just like in Mubarak's time.”

Like Morsi's liberal and conservative critics, al Yazal agrees little has changed with Israel since the Islamist leader came to power, nor does it appear likely much will anytime soon.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 19, 2013 11:02 AM
"That's.... al-Yazal says. "When you attack Israel, then you get a reputation in the street." Sadly Israel and the Jewish people are very convinient scapegoats for when nations and politicians have problems due to their incompetent performance; or when dastardly politicians want to look tough, they pick on Israel/Jews; they have been doing so for more than a milenia. This type of deliberate attacks, "Israel bashing", can even be seen amongst some EU elites; such granstanding fuels anti-semitism, a rapidly growing threat to Jews in Europe, clear racism. This dastardly racism needs to stop.

In Response

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 19, 2013 9:05 PM
maryam - Since you bring the issue of the Palestinians for info- 1.5 Million Arab Muslims live in Israel with full citizenship rights, they even have their own members in the Israeli Knesset, one of the only places in the ME were they have full rightst...; in Gaza, that is under full Pal control, zero Isr Jews live, and once almost 40% of the citizens were Christian, now less than 3% are Christians...Same sit we see all over the ME, all Jews and Christians have been cleansed out. And as far as the economy of the Pals, in Gaza they were able to buy/launch 22,000 rockets at Isr, that money could have been better spent on the necessities of life, it just shows the ability to get weapons in...; over 36 billion US $ went into the Pal sectors, to set up the economy,over 12 yrs what happened to it...???? For 5 yrs the Isr gvmt has been wating for a peace deal, all they get is projectiles/blown up buses, and attacks on peaceful civilians, so wake up and get your leaders to the negotiating table! and stop the terrorism.

In Response

by: maryam from: USA
March 19, 2013 11:41 AM
if any one wants the TRUTH about racist/zionists all they need to do is SEE what is happening to PALESTINE. Palestinians are prisoners on their own land; homes destroyed' children killed; economy non-existent and THAT is what racist/zkionists are doing!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid