Morsi Says 'Pigs' Remark on Jews Misunderstood

Egypt President Says Anti-Semitic Vitriol Taken Out of Context

getty images

By Reuters

Published January 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

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 U.S. 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 was viewed on YouTube by Reuters.

Mursi told a delegation of U.S. 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 U.S. policy in the Middle East, since becoming Egypt’s first democratically elected president last June.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.