Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders 311 (R).
(photo credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly criticized the US administration on Friday for conducting talks with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The condemnation from the Jewish human rights organization came in response to a statement made by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Thursday that the Obama administration has been engaged in “limited contacts” with the Islamist political movement.
“If the State Department thinks its going to convert the Muslim Brotherhood and dissuade them from their anti-Semitic beliefs, it is the height of folly,” said the Center’s founder and dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, in comments to The Jerusalem Post.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has not categorically renounced violence towards Israel,” he continued, and pointed to a statement made in June by the organization’s head in Egypt, Mohammed Badie.
“Allah has warned us of the tricks of the Jews, and their role in
igniting the fire of wars... and they labor hard to spread corruption on
earth,” said Badie.
Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel, also rebuked the US administration for the announcement.
“Muslim Brotherhood leaders continue to make very extremist statements,”
he told the Post on Sunday, citing the recent call of prominent Muslim
Brotherhood leader Sheikh Hazim Abu Ismael for the imposition of the
jizya, an Islamic poll tax for certain non- Muslim citizens of an
Islamic state, on the Coptic Christian community in Egypt.
“It’s difficult to understand how the Americans ignore these kind of
comments,” Mazel said, “especially now when different factions are
splitting from the Muslim Brotherhood and they are in the midst of a
The US should be supporting and encouraging the secular parties instead
of coming to the aid of the Muslim Brotherhood and providing them with
this kind of international legitimacy.”
Hier broadly echoed this sentiment, calling on the White House to
predicate any contacts and discussions with the organization based on
guarantees from its leaders that it would work to uphold the
Egypt-Israel peace treaty and cease its anti-Semitic declarations.
“These should be the benchmarks for engaging with the US,” he said.