Rise of Islamist Movements Casts Shadow over Egypt

(JTA) Robert Wistrich - 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. The Muslim Brotherhood has always been deeply anti-Western, viscerally hostile to Israel and openly anti-Semitic - 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. At a Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo on Nov. 25, 2011, Islamic activists vowed to "one day kill all 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. Rashad Bayoumi, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told the Arabic daily al-Hayat on Jan. 1, 2012, that Israel was a "criminal enemy" with whom Egypt should never have signed a peace treaty in the first place. 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." Prof. Wistrich is the director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010).

2012-01-16 00:00:00

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