WASHINGTON – A group of US senators condemned Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s
2010 comments about Zionists and Jews in a meeting with the leader in Cairo
“President Morsi’s offensive remarks towards Israel and the
Jewish people are troublesome and deeply disturbing,” Sen.
Gillibrand (D-New York) said in a statement released following the meeting. “I
was very specific and direct with President Morsi deploring these
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who was also on the trip, also
released a statement noting that the senators “voiced our strong disapproval” to
Morsi’s remarks as part of a “constructive discussion” on the
The senators were reacting to comments made by Morsi in 2010
that recently surfaced in which he said Egyptians must “nurse our children and
our grandchildren on hatred toward those Zionists and Jews” and in another case
referred to them as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these
warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
The White House condemned
the remarks Tuesday and said it had raised its concerns over the matter with the
“The language that we have seen is deeply offensive.
We completely reject the statements, as we do any language that espouses
religious hatred,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to a
question about Morsi’s words.
“This kind of discourse has been acceptable
in the region for far too long and is counter to the goal of peace,” Carney
added. “President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths,
and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic
In response, Morsi said his comments had been taken out of
He told the senators that the remarks needed to be put “in the
context in which they were said,” his spokesman reported in a
The context was Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians in
the Gaza Strip, the spokesman said, likely a reference to Israel’s military
operation in Gaza in 2008 and 2009.
Despite the criticism over Morsi’s
remarks, McCain indicated that the visiting senators still saw Egypt as an
“We all believe in the continued importance of
the US-Egypt relationship,” he said, describing the revolution in Egypt as an
opportunity “to make it a truly strategic partnership between our peoples, our
nations and our elected governments.”
But he warned that America’s
ability to continue its ties and aid to Egypt depended on the progress of
democracy in Egypt and its willingness to keep its international
Reuters contributed to this report.