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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Egyptian revolution's anti-Semitism

John Rosenthal makes a convincing case in refuting the notion that it was deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was behind Egyptian anti-Semitism. Rosenthal argues that it was precisely the elements of the media that fueled the Egyptian uprising who have been behind the Jew-hatred that is rampant in Egypt.
As I showed in two previous PJM reports (see here and here), the evidence of anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israeli sentiment among the anti-Mubarak protests was extensive. Moreover, the evidence reveals not only the protestors’ hostility to Israel and/or Jews as such, but also that this hostility was inseparable from their opposition to Mubarak. Hence, the numerous portraits of Mubarak with a Star of David scrawled on his face or forehead. Arabic speakers have confirmed to me that many of the signs carried by protestors identified Mubarak as an Israeli “agent” or “spy.”

As such evidence began trickling out, a common response among supporters of the “revolution” was to suggest that the pro-Mubarak forces were also employing anti-Semitic insults against the protestors and/or foreign journalists. Such claims were typically unsupported by any evidence at all, let alone the mass of evidence revealing the anti-Semitic/“anti-Zionist” current among the protestors themselves. The ultimate source for the claims appears to have been Al Jazeera.

There is also, however, a more sophisticated variant of the same sort of argument. According to this variant, Mubarak has fallen victim to a kind of “boomerang effect.” He had himself been responsible for fomenting the widespread anti-Semitism in Egyptian society, and hence if he had now become the principal target of this anti-Semitism, he was merely reaping what he had sowed.

Now, there has been some evidence offered in support of the latter charge. Such evidence was gathered, notably, in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Max Boot titled “Hosni Mubarak, Troublesome Ally.” Boot accuses Mubarak of “turning a blind eye to the rabid anti-Semitism and anti-Westernism that polluted Egypt’s state-controlled news media and mosques,” and he cites several examples culled from the Middle East media watchdog group MEMRI.

The problem, however, is that the evidence adduced by Boot is weak and highly ambiguous. Indeed, some of the supposedly “state-controlled media” from which the examples derive are not state-controlled at all. They are private media. More to the point, not only are they private media, but they are private media that are associated precisely with the opposition that brought down Mubarak.
But perhaps the best evidence of the anti-Semitism of the Egyptian revolution is - as I pointed out in an earlier post - the fact that every Egyptian leadership candidate who is not affiliated with the Mubarak government or the military has come out in favor of some form of abrogating the Camp David treaty. You can be assured that they don't plan to give back the Sinai either.

Read the whole thing. For those of you who have not seen it, the Wael Ghonim interview that he discusses at the end is here.

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