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Egypt’s Islamists play to anti-Israel sentiment

October 14, 2012 • World News


FILE – In this Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 file photo, Mohammed Badie speaks during a press conference at the group’s parliamentary office in Cairo, Egypt. A leading Jewish organization is calling Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 on the White House to cut contacts with Egypt’s most powerful political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, over anti-Semitic remarks attributed to its spiritual guide. Mohammed Badie said that Jews were spreading “corruption,” had slaughtered Muslims and profaned holy sites, according to comments published on the group’s website and emailed to reporters. He further called on Muslims to fight Israel, saying Zionists only understood force. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

CAIRO (AP) — A fiery tirade against Jews by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s leader highlights one of the foremost diplomatic challenges facing the country’s new Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as he balances popular sentiment with the need for security relations with Israel.

The Brotherhood’s supreme leader Mohammed Badie called on Muslims worldwide this week to defend Jerusalem, saying “Zionists only know the way of force.” He said that Jews were spreading “corruption,” had slaughtered Muslims and desecrated holy sites.

Badie’s condemnation went well beyond the harsh criticism of Israel and its policies that is common in Egypt, opening even greater friction between the country’s most powerful political group and its Jewish neighbor. And it will likely put more pressure on Morsi, who ran for president as a Brotherhood candidate, to take a more assertive role than his predecessor had in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Morsi made no public comments about Badie’s remarks, the strongest criticism against Israel since Morsi took office in June. His spokesman, Yasser Ali, did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Eli Shaked, a former Israeli Login to read more

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