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OBAMA: GROVELING TO THE BROTHERHOOD, MISCALCULATIONS CAST SHADOW OVER EGYPT

Volume XI, No. 2,746 • January 24, 2012

EGYPT | More About: Muslim Brotherhood, Barack Obama, US Foreign Policy, Israel-Egypt Relations, Salafist, Islamic Fundamentalism

On Saturday, Egypt’s electoral commission released the final results of the country’s first “free” elections in decades, with Islamist parties winning nearly three-quarters of the House seats. Leading the way, the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood captured 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament, followed by the Salafist Al-Nour Party with 25 percent, or 125 seats. Egypt’s oldest secular party, the Wafd, garnered a mere 9 percent of the vote. The legislature will now be tasked with forming a 100-member committee to write a new constitution.

 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland claims the Brotherhood-led coalition of Islamists has assured the US that “all major parties will support human rights, tolerance, rights of women and will also uphold Egypt’s existing international obligations.” How comforting for Israel given that the Brotherhood’s deputy leader, Dr. Rashad Bayoumi, weeks ago referred to the Jewish state as “an occupying criminal enemy,” and confirmed in an interview his party would not recognize Israel “under any circumstance.”

 

But that is not all: Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie last month hosted Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, at the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters. Haniyeh said during his visit that “Hamas’ presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity.” Then there is Dr. Mahmoud Saad al-Katatni, director of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party until resigning on January 21 to serve as speaker of the new Egyptian parliament. Al-Katatni affirmed in December that “A long time has passed since the Camp David accord [the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty] was signed and like the other agreements it needs reevaluation.…”

 

And what to make of the Middle East Media Research Institute’s (MEMRI) recent report regarding virulent anti-Semitic writings appearing on the Brotherhood’s website, Ikhwanonline.com? MEMRI found that, “The website…contains articles with antisemitic motifs, including Holocaust denial and descriptions of the ‘Jewish character’ as covetous, exploitative, and a source of evil in human society.… In addition to antisemitic content, articles on the site also include praise for jihad and martyrdom.… Among these are articles calling to kill Zionists and praising the September 9, 2011 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.…”

 

None of this, however, prevented US president Barack Obama from this month dispatching Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to Egypt to meet with Brotherhood political attache Mohamed Morsi. Thereafter, Morsi “hailed” the new ties with the United States, and, in apparent reference to Israel, said that previous US behavior had been “biased and not in [Egypt’s] interest.” Morsi implored Washington to adopt “a positive position concerning Arab and Muslim causes.”

 

The Obama administration is clearly repeating its oft-stated policy of “engaging” radicals, despite the strategy’s abysmal failure to curb Iran’s Mullahs from developing nuclear weapons, or impede Syrian president Bashar Assad from murdering thousands of anti-regime civilians. The reason being, extremists cannot be appeased. Rather, they must be confronted in strength.

 

Israel hopefully learned this lesson following Hamas’ ascendance through “democratic” Palestinian elections in 2006. The Jewish state should prepare accordingly.—Charles Bybelezer, Publications Chairman, CIJR

 

BARACK OBAMA’S MIDDLE EAST MISCALCULATION
Mortimer B. Zuckerman

US News, January 20, 2012

…The euphoria of the “Arab Spring,” the instant Twitter-style transition from dictatorship to democracy, [has been exposed] for what it is: an illusion. Yes, the dictatorship of one kind has gone, but democracy in the sense we understand it is, shall we say, somewhat delayed.…

Last year in the Middle East was the most dramatic it has known for many. The series of uprisings in Egypt were marked by the emergence of Islamic forces.… They scored dramatic political gains in Tunisia and Libya, too. Leaders who perceived themselves as invincible fell, one after the other, the most dramatic being the end of the rule of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The United States could not decide whether to support a regime that was disagreeable, but yet a strategic ally, or abandon it because it ignored fundamental American values like freedom and democracy (which means not just fair elections and majority rule, but respect for the rule of law, equal rights for women, tolerance of minorities, and freedom of expression). Alas, with the collapse of the Mubarak regime, the cause of freedom in Egypt is set back since, in the battle between the army and the conservative Islamic extreme, the Islamic bloc won by an overwhelming majority.… There is likely to be at least a two thirds majority for an Islamist constitution. What we are witnessing is a democratic election of a dictatorship.

The White House completely miscalculated in Egypt, as it did in Gaza. It seemed only to care for the mechanics of the electoral process rather than the meaning of the results. Washington vacillated on who its Egyptian allies really are. We had long shared with the Egyptian military understandings on national security, ours with an eye to maintaining peace in the region. That relationship is now pretty much lost.

Americans, in their perennial innocence, have demanded that the generals turn over power to the civilians whomever they may be, just as they did to the Persian shah, just as they did after Israel’s pullout from Gaza when they hadn’t a clue about the danger posed by Hamas. Our ingenuous attitude has been tantamount to handing over Egypt on a silver platter to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, who ironically are coming into power as democrats.

Their new foreign policy will include opening the blockaded border with Gaza, ending normal relations with Israel, and opening them with Hamas and Iran in such a way as to alter the balance of power in the region against U.S. interests. Indeed, one of the few things that unites the political parties in Egypt is an anti-Western foreign policy. Cairo has already allowed Iran’s warships to transit the Suez Canal; failed to protect pipelines supplying energy to Israel and Jordan; endorsed the union of Hamas and Fatah; and hosted conferences in support of “the resistance,” that is, terrorism.…

Democracy in Egypt without the Muslim Brotherhood may be impossible, but so is democracy under its leadership. It is one thing for the Muslim Brotherhood to run in an election; it’s another to imagine what they will do if they gain power, for the Islamists will replace secular dictatorship with Islamic dictatorship, leaving only the army to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state. The young men and women of Tahrir Square toppled the regime. Then along came a second wave, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose founder, Hassan al-Banna, once declared, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated.…”

Cairo will now be painted in Islamic colors, but this is not a clash between the secular and the religious. It is a clash between freedom and tyranny.

GROVELING TO THE BROTHERHOOD
Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2012

It is profoundly disconcerting to read media reports of the unseemly competition between the US and Western governments to curry favor with the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of its electoral victory in Egypt. There are chilling parallels between such behavior and the disastrous European policy of appeasing the Nazis which paved the way for World War II.

What those attempting to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood fail to comprehend is that this organization represents one of the most fanatical and dangerous of the radical Islamist groups in the region, with a dark record of violence and terrorism imbedded in its DNA. It is rabidly anti-Western, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic, is committed to imposing sharia law and a global caliphate—and willing to employ any means to further its objectives.

To this day, the Brotherhood credo remains: “Allah is our objective, the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

In Brotherhood eyes Osama bin Laden was a “sheikh” and they condemned the US for assassinating him. A few weeks ago the current Brotherhood leader, Muhammad al-Badi, proclaimed that the genocidal Hamas, which the Brotherhood spawned, should be regarded as a role model for Islamic piety. If the terms evil and criminal have any meaning, they would surely apply to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today, aware of the desperate need for US and Western economic support, it tactically moves into a duplicitous “stealth jihad” mode, speaking with a forked tongue and feeding the foreign media with self-portraits of moderation that are totally divorced from reality. It reassures Western politicians and media that it will adhere to all prior international treaties. But its deceitfulness is exemplified by subsequent announcements that as the peace treaty with Israel was never endorsed by the people, it must be submitted to a referendum. The Muslim Brotherhood to this day repeatedly vows that it will never recognize a Jewish state and fully endorses the murderous policies of Hamas.

Despite all this, the US administration, mindlessly seeking a rationale to engage with the Brotherhood, has welcomed the “democratic” elections in Egypt, stressing the need to respect the will of the people while disregarding the radical Islamic and fascist nature of the Brotherhood. According to The New York Times, the administration is promoting the line that the Brotherhood seeks to “build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel.” Apologists…refuse to face the reality that, akin to Hamas in Gaza and the Nazis in Germany, both of which gained a parliamentary majority in their respective elections, once in power the Brotherhood will destroy the opposition, impose sharia law and intensify the persecution of Christian Copts and all infidels. In the course of time they could make Mubarak’s autocracy seem like a liberal paradise.

Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator John Kerry, who formerly described Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime as “reform-minded” and enthusiastically supported “engaging” Iran, is not renowned for excessive wisdom in his observations concerning the Middle East. Now, in relation to the Brotherhood, he says that “the US needs to deal with the new reality…and it needs to step up its game” and “figure out how to deal with democratic governments that don’t espouse every policy or value you have.” He even suggested that the Obama administration should emulate President Reagan’s policy of “outreach” to the Soviet Union. Yet Reagan continuously assailed the undemocratic behavior of the Soviet Union, repeatedly referring to it as the “Evil Empire.” His tough approach was a major factor in the ultimate collapse of Communism.

Even more staggering were recent reports in the Indian media alleging that the Obama administration is employing Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, as an intermediary to mediate in secret talks with the Taliban. This evil man, previously denied entry into the UK and the US, openly supports the global caliphate, issued a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) in 2003 calling on the faithful to kill US troops in Iraq, and endorses Hamas and suicide bombings (which he describes as “martyrdom in the name of God”).… He prays for Allah to kill all Jews, saying “count their numbers and kill them down to the last one…do not spare a single one.” For the US to have direct dealings with such a person is mind-boggling.…

There are chilling parallels today with the late 1930s, when Czechoslovakia was pressured to make way for “peace and stability.” We must remind the world that appeasing the Nazis had the opposite effect and merely empowered Hitler, encouraging him to make additional demands which culminated in war. We were then very fortunate to have a leader of the caliber of Winston Churchill, whose determination ultimately brought about the downfall of Nazism and prevented the total collapse of Western civilization. Alas, President Obama is no Churchill.…

RISE OF ISLAMIST MOVEMENTS CASTS SHADOW OVER EGYPT
Robert Wistrich

JTA, January 13, 2012

…The Islamist parties in Egypt, as in Tunisia and Libya, have been the chief beneficiaries of the collapse of longstanding authoritarian repressive regimes across North Africa. In Egypt itself, the two largest Islamist groups—the Brotherhood and the Salafists—won about three quarters of the ballots…while the secular and the liberal forces took a battering.

The Brotherhood…is an organization founded by an Egyptian schoolteacher, Hassan el Banna, back in 1928.… The Muslim Brotherhood has always been deeply anti-Western, viscerally hostile to Israel and openly antisemitic—points usually downplayed in Western commentary on the so-called Arab Spring. Indeed, the anti-Jewish conspiracy theories promoted by the Brotherhood and its affiliated preachers are in a class of their own.

This is especially true of Egyptian-born Yusuf al-Qaradawi, undoubtedly the most celebrated Muslim Brotherhood cleric in the world. The still vigorous 84-year-old, often misleadingly depicted in the West as a “moderate,” flew in from Qatar to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Feb. 18, 2011 to lead a million-strong crowd in Friday prayers, thereby ending 50 years of exile from his native land. He…offer[ed] the hope “that Almighty Allah will please me with the conquest of the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].”

Two years earlier, in a notorious commentary on Al-Jazeera TV (January 28, 2009), the “moderate” Qaradawi had provided religious justification for both past and future Holocausts: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption.… The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them—even though they exaggerated this issue—he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them.… Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.” In other words, the loathing of Jews, the Holocaust and the destruction of Israel by Muslims were linked by Qaradawi as things mandated by G-d himself.

Regarding Israel and the Jews, fundamentalist Muslim attitudes have not deviated since the 1940s. Islamist ideologues, despite their virulent anti-Westernism, have had no problem drawing on Western sources for their radical anti- Semitism—whether these libels come from “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” forgery, Henry Ford’s “The International Jew,” Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” fantasies about Judeo-Masonic plots, Christian anti-Talmudism, medieval blood-libels or the slanders of contemporary or Holocaust deniers in America and Europe.

The current swelling of Islamist ranks within Egypt and across the Arab world has hardly improved matters. At a vocal Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo’s most prominent mosque on Nov. 25, 2011, Islamic activists ominously chanted “Tel Aviv, judgment day has come,” vowing to “one day kill all Jews.” The rally, which sought to promote the “battle against Jerusalem’s judaization,” was peppered with hate-filled speeches about the “treacherous Jews.” There were explicit calls for jihad and liberating all of Palestine as well as references to a well-known hadith concerning the future Muslim annihilation of the Jews. Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University (the most senior clerical authority in Sunni Islam) even claimed that Jews throughout the world were seeking to prevent Egyptian and Islamic unity, as well as trying to “Judaize al-Quds [Jerusalem].…”

It is particularly chilling to note that the Islamic wave already dominates not only in Iran, which is on the verge of nuclear weapons, but also in Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, the Gaza strip under Hamas and the Lebanese state, currently in the iron grip of Hezbollah. Apart from seeking to impose sharia law, and to further downgrade the status of women—while repressing Copts and other non-Muslim minorities—the neo-Islamist movements and regimes remain as determined as ever to wipe out Israel and to radically reduce American influence in the region.…

In the face of this mounting fundamentalist danger, Israel has no choice but to consolidate its deterrent capacity, close ranks and treat with the upmost skepticism any siren voices calling on it to take unreasonable “risks for peace.” At the same time, it will have to develop a new regional strategy that takes into account the seismic changes currently shaking the Middle East.

(Prof. Robert Wistrich is the director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center
for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.)

On Topic

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'Muslim Brotherhood site rife with anti-Se... JPost - Middle East
Rubin Reports  » Egypt’s Parliament Is 75% Islamist: Egypt-Israel Peace Agreement is Dead Even if Treaty Still Exists Pajamas Media, January 23, 2012
Barry Rubin
Rubin Reports » Egypt’s Parliament Is 75% Islamist: Egypt-Israel Peace Agreement is Dead Even if Treaty Still Exists
Egypt’s Great Liberal Nope | The Weekly Standard Weekly Standard, January 23, 2012
David Schenker & Eric Trager
Egypt’s Great Liberal Nope | The Weekly Standard

EDITORIAL BOARD

Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Prof. Harold Waller Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)

Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)

Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Ber Lazarus Ber Lazarus (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

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