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Mursi says speech against Jews taken out of context
Published Wednesday 16/01/2013 (updated) 17/01/2013 17:11
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Mursi said the comments were taken out of context.
CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said vitriolic comments he made against Jews and Zionists three years ago had been taken out of context, an explanation that fell short of a US call for him to repudiate the remarks.

The New York Times said it had obtained video of a speech by Mursi in 2010, when he was already a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement, in which he urged Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred" for Jews and Zionists.

In a television interview that the paper said he made months later, Mursi described Zionists as "these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs".

Footage of the later comments could be viewed on YouTube.

Mursi told a delegation of US senators visiting Cairo on Wednesday that the remarks needed to be put "in the context in which they were said", his spokesman said in a statement.

That context was Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the spokesman said, a possible reference to an Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008 and 2009.

Mursi's comments appeared at odds with the diplomatic, moderate image the Islamist leader has sought to convey since taking office last year and may stir unease among Egypt's Western allies, whose help he needs to weather a financial crisis.

For Washington, which was a staunch ally of Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak until he was overthrown in 2011 and is now trying to build a dependable relationship with Mursi, the remarks will have made uncomfortable viewing.

The United States provides Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year - support that flows from Cairo's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

'Strong disapproval'

Mursi has promised repeatedly to respect the treaty, a cornerstone of US policy in the Middle East, since becoming Egypt's first democratically elected president last June.

He worked with US President Barack Obama's administration to help broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza late last year.

The US delegation, led by Sen. John McCain, said it had expressed strong disapproval of Mursi's remarks about Jews.

"We had a constructive discussion on this subject," said McCain. "We leave it to the president to make any further comments on this matter that he may wish."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said they had "expressed our view in no uncertain terms" and that Mursi's remarks "counter the goal of the friendship between our two peoples".

Mursi told the delegation he was committed to freedom of religion and belief, his spokesman said, adding: "his Excellency (Mursi) pointed out the need to distinguish between the Jewish religion, and those who belong to it, and violent actions against defenseless Palestinians."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday that the language Mursi used was "deeply offensive" and that US officials had raised its concerns with Egypt's government.

Carney called on Mursi to "make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt."
1 ) milad / .ps
16/01/2013 22:11
i am not a supporter of morsi or their politics ,but why no same publicity over the decades of isreali racism which is far worse.

2 ) Outlier / USA
16/01/2013 23:21
There is NO context in which such speech is acceptable. Mursi is either a fool or supremely arrogant to think it can be explained away.

3 ) Eric / Luxembourg
17/01/2013 12:17
Well, i'm sorry. But, has never ever anybody heard Israeli Rabbis preaching for the Extermination of Arabs/Palestinians ? Preaching for Concentration camps to be build for Arabs/Palestinians ? Where is the outrage over that Mr. Carney ?

4 ) Sami, the bedouin / Palestine
17/01/2013 15:39
Chabad rabbi: Jews should kill Arab men, women and children during war ..... "The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)," Friedman wrote in response to the question posed by Moment Magazine for its "Ask the Rabbis"

5 ) Carlos / USA
17/01/2013 16:21
Unfortunately there is no context underwhich the israeli terrorism of Gaza is acceptable either. israel rules by murder and theft. If the greatest crime Mursi has ever committed is what he said. I forgive him. I deplore his remarks but his remarks do not offend me as much as the murder of 160 Gazans by israel within the last year or the murder of 1600 Gazans by israel in 2008. israel has never backed away from killing an Arab for any reason.

6 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
17/01/2013 16:37
Sorry, Eric, but you're fantasizing. Hatred of the Jew is widespread and historically longterm & really ugly. Your inability to appreciate this and be disgusted by Morsi's speech just tells us how miserable you really are. As to socalled Israeli "racism", "milad", 20% of the Israeli population are Arabs; all have voting rights, education, social services and old age pensions. A number are in our Knesset. Which of the 30 Arab nations handle their minorities in such a democratic way? None!

7 ) Chimo / USA
17/01/2013 19:44
Right on Robert, but unfortunately, your words of wisdom and knowledge will fall short on the deaf ears of most of the posters on this sight because they all believe and think just like Morsi. Israel takes care of the arab population within Israel much better than the governments of the arab countries do their own citizens. Morsi is aligning Egypt up with Iran. Maybe if the hamas maggotts in GAza stopped firng missiles at Israeli communities, Israel wouldn't have to flatten Gaza as much.

8 ) Milad / .ps
17/01/2013 22:52
@6 your comments are funny.i think you took morsi's comments out of context.

9 ) kobi / israel
18/01/2013 07:15
why is it every time some racist pops his head there are always a million supporters saying "but the other side has racists in it to"? both when a far right figure says something in israel and supporters say "its worst in syria" or "hammas/mursi/iran calls for our destruction" and when an islamist says it and pro-palestinian supporters say "but israel is racist as well"???? till we dont condemn the racists on our side racisem is here to stay!!! :/

10 ) Mo / Canada
18/01/2013 22:03
The general population in Israel wants peace. There are fringe groups who say racist things and EVERYONE is Israel gives them hell for it. This is not the case in the Arabs country, where it is in fact the opposite, as calling Jews apes and pigs is considered appropriate, and anyone who suggests peace is given death threats
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