German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to criticize his past statements on Jews.
Merkel raised the issue of Morsi’s 2010 recorded statement in which he called Israeli Zionists “descendants of apes and pigs,” during their meeting on Wednesday, according to German media.
Morsi responded that the comments were taken out of context, and explained that, as a religious Muslim, he is “not against Judaism as a religion. I am not against the Jews who practice their faith.” But he said he was against religious practices in which blood is spilled, according to the Austrian paper Der Standard.
Merkel’s open criticism of Morsi’s remarks drew praise from Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who was in Berlin to discuss the Center’s top ten list of anti-Semitic statements of 2012.
Cooper said Thursday he hoped Merkel’s confrontation of Morsi would “send a signal not only to Egyptians but to leaders in Europe who show up to commemorations to dead victims of the Holocaust but unfortunately are all too absent when it comes to standing up for the rights of Jews.”
The Wiesenthal Center’s top ten list, topped by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, drew fire in Germany because of its inclusion of prominent journalist Jakob Augstein in the 9th position.