A leading Jewish group welcomed on Monday the resignation of a close adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi who last week called for Jews of Egyptian descent to return to Egypt and “leave Israel.”
The official, Essam al-Erian, who is the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, reportedly referred to Israel as a “brutal, bloody and racist” state that was guilty of “war crimes against humanity.”
The Jews should return immediately to Egypt to “make way for the Palestinian people”, he said, as he predicted that the Jewish state would disappear within a decade.
According to news reports, he submitted his resignation as a presidential adviser earlier today.
“We welcome the resignation of Essam al-Erian,” said National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham H. Foxman. “We hope that President Morsi and other Egyptian government leaders will now make it clear that the defamation of Israel and Jews has no place in the country’s national dialogue.”
On January 4, Foxman wrote to the Egyptian Ambassador in Washington, calling on the government to take action in the wake of al-Erian’s remarks, which ADL described as “outrageous and alarming.”
“This broad-brush negative stereotype of Jews by a senior Egyptian official was inappropriate, unacceptable and raises serious questions about the attitudes of some of Egypt’s leaders towards Jews,” said Foxman. “Essam al-Erian’s resignation should be an example of the consequences for leaders who express such attitudes.”
ADL’s letter to Egyptian Ambassador Mohamed M. Tawfik expressed appreciation at attempts by government officials to subsequently clarify the official’s remarks about Israel. The League noted, however, that even some of the official government clarifications “contained troubling qualifications.” For example, Shura Council spokesperson Ahmed Fahmy was reported to have said about Jews that “hostility is their creed.”