STATE DEPARTMENT— The United States said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi should repudiate remarks he made in 2010 calling on Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington condemns the comments made by President Morsi at a time when he led the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. In one of the 2010 videos, Morsi said Egyptian children must feed on that hatred as a form of worshipping God.
"The language that we've seen is deeply offensive. We completely reject these statements as we do any language that espouses religious hatred," said Nuland.
In a separate 2010 interview, Morsi described Zionists as "bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians; these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs."
Nuland said that kind of rhetoric has been used in the Middle East for far too long, and President Morsi should firmly repudiate his past comments.
"We want to see President Morsi make absolutely clear to his own people, to the international community, that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt," she said.
President Morsi has not commented publicly since video of his 2010 remarks was broadcast in Cairo last Friday. They have since spread to the Internet and come at a tenuous time for U.S.-Egyptian relations, especially as U.S. lawmakers consider withholding additional financial assistance.
Since he took office in June of 2012, Nuland said President Morsi has reaffirmed his commitment to Egypt's peace treaty with Israel "in word and deed."
"He has been willing to work with us and with Israel on shared objectives, including the cease-fire in Gaza. He has been committed to our bilateral relationship," Nuland added. "That is the basis on which we are continuing to work together going forward."
In his 2010 remarks, Mr. Morsi criticized what he said are Zionist supporters - "America, France, and Europe" - singling out President Barack Obama, whom he called a liar for promising the Arab world "empty meaningless words." Mr. Morsi took power as Egypt's first democratically elected president.