The United States on Tuesday condemned anti-Semitic remarks attributed to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi in 2010 before he was elected to office, and urged him to make clear his views.
“The language that we’ve seen is deeply offensive,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding “we think that these comments should be repudiated, and they should be repudiated firmly.”
Mursi’s anti-Semitic remarks, documented on video in 2010, came back to haunt him when the video was aired on television by Egyptian satirist Bassem Yousef on Friday.
The reemergence of the 2010 video showed Mursi addressing a rally in his hometown in the Nile Delta while denouncing the Israeli blockade on Gaza. In the video, he urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and “Zionists.”
However, since the start of his presidential campaign, Mursi vowed to uphold Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
“When the leader of a country has a history of statements demonizing Jews, and he does not do anything to correct it, it makes sense that many people in Israel would conclude that he cannot be trusted as a partner for peace,” Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the U.S. based Anti-Defamation League, told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Mursi’s representatives have declined to comment on the issue.
Any effort to retract such comments could expose him to political attacks by opponents who believe he is too lenient towards the West and Israel.
Perhaps “the Muslim Brotherhood is so desperate for U.S. support that it is willing to bend over backwards to humor the Israelis,” The New York Times quoted, Emad Gad of the Social Democratic Party, as saying.
In another video for Mursi dated September 2012, unearthed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, he was quoted as saying “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” referring to “Zionists” but never explicitly to Jews. “They are hostile by nature,” he carried on.