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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Priorities: Jew hatred v. economics

Evelyn Gordon reports on a trend that ought to worry anyone who is considering providing financial assistance to the disastrous Egyptian economy: The prioritizing of Jew-hatred over measures that would help Egypt's key industries to reestablish themselves.
Unfortunately, Egypt’s new rulers don’t seem to have gotten the message: This week, they canceled an annual trip by Israeli pilgrims to the grave of a Jewish sage.

In other words, they announced that pandering to anti-Israel sentiment is higher priority than reviving Egypt’s battered tourism industry, its second-largest revenue source after expatriate remittances: Not only are they forgoing the revenues this particular trip would bring (550 Israelis went last year, and more would likely have joined had Cairo not capped the delegation’s size), but they are even willing to endanger future revenues from other sources by using an excuse certain to deter other tourists: that Egypt’s “political and security situation” makes it impossible to guarantee the pilgrims’ safety.

Technically, this decision was made by the transitional military government. But the Muslim Brotherhood​, winner of the recent elections, is the one that led the drive to cancel the pilgrimage, terming it “unacceptable legally and politically.” The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party reportedly organized a human chain to stop the “Zionists” from reaching the grave of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in Damanhur; it also issued open threats against the pilgrims: Brotherhood official Gamal Heshmat declared the pilgrimage would be a “suicide mission” for the Israelis.

In fairness, however, it’s not just the Brotherhood that deems hostility toward Israel higher priority than economic development: The Egyptian media reported that 31 parties and organizations joined the campaign against the pilgrimage, including the one led by former International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohammed ElBaradei, a darling of the West.
And this isn't the first time it happened since the fall of Mubarak. Read the whole thing.

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