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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Middle East Media Sampler 1/28/13: John Kerry Gives A Pass To Morsi's Antisemitism

From +David Gerstman

1) When bigotry doesn't matter

A few weeks ago comments that President Morsi made in 2010 about Jews being descended from "apes and pigs" were reported by MEMRI. It was a cause of great outrage. An editorial in the New York Times fumed:
The White House called for Mr. Morsi to make clear that he respects members of all faiths and said the videotaped remarks run counter to the goal of peace. President Obama should also deliver that message to President Morsi directly. The State Department was indignant: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland would not say if Washington is demanding that Morsi personally repudiate the remarks, but she made clear the U.S. needs to see more than the statement from his office to be convinced he no longer holds to the earlier views. 
 An attempt to explain himself to a group of visiting U.S. senators made matters worse.

Then Morsy crossed a line and made a comment that made the senators physically recoil in their chairs in shock, Coons said. "He was attempting to explain himself ... then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don't view me favorably,'" Coons said. The Cable asked Coons if Morsy specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media. Coons said all the senators believed the implication was obvious.
But one of those Senators, John McCain, though he was offended, still thinks that unconditional aid to Egypt is a good idea.
McCain said the delegation voiced its disapproval and had a “constructive discussion” with Morsi. “We leave it to the president to make any further comments on this matter that he may wish,” the Arizona Republican said. The delegation clearly sought to move beyond the unexpected diplomatic flap to focus on Egypt’s economy. McCain told reporters the congressional delegation will push for an additional $480 million in budget assistance to Egypt.
The comments have become an issue in Senator John Kerry's confirmation hearings. Barry Rubin quotes the exchange between Senator Rand Paul and the nominee and adds his own comments:
Rand Paul: “Do you think it’s wise to send [Egypt] F-16s and Abrams tanks?” 
Kerry: “I think those [antisemitic] comments are reprehensible, and those comments set back the possibilities of working toward issues of mutual interest. They are degrading comments, unacceptable by anybody’s standard, and I think they have to appropriately be apologized for….”” 
Kerry, of course, isn’t answering the question. He is detaching the remarks from Muslim Brotherhood ideology and from U.S. policy. This is meaningless rhetoric on his part. It does, however, raise the intriguing problem of what Kerry would do since President Mursi isn’t going to apologize. That would have been a good question. Of course, he would do nothing. 
Rand Paul [cutting Kerry off]: “If we keep sending them weapons, it’s not gonna change their behavior.” 
Here is the essential question and the one that Kerry doesn’t want to answer. What reason is there to believe that the U.S. supply of arms would change the Brotherhood government’s policies? Rather than moderate its policy wouldn’t these arms merely enable the regime to follow a more radical position, and who would these arms be used against? 
Kerry: “Let me finish. President Mursi has issued two statements to clarify those comments, and we had a group of senators who met with him just the other day who spent a good part of their conversation in a relatively heated discussion with him about it….” 
Yes, Mursi issued two statements but they were not to take back his prior words but only to double down on them since he asserted that the statements had been taken out of context by the Zionist-controlled media. The man isn’t misspeaking. He’s just saying what he believes. Kerry and Obama refuse to recognize that he believes these things.
Whatever one thinks of Naftali Bennett, at most he will be a junior partner in the ruling coalition in Israel. Mohammed Morsi is the President of Egypt with deeply held beliefs that inform his views that are hostile to American interests. Yet, to the mainstream media, who presents a greater threat to peace in the Middle East?

2) Meadia Culpa

Last week I cited Walter Russell Mead's critique of the MSM's coverage of last week's Israeli elections. In particular he cited David Remnick's coverage as "shameful." Mead has now apologized to Remnick, writing:
There is no point in recounting the twists and turns of the editorial process that led to a poorly expressed and unfair post appearing on the site. As the editor of the site and the Mead in Via Meadia, the responsibility for what happened is mine and mine alone. I want to apologize to David Remnick for a mean spirited jab that was unfair to him, to our readers and fell short of the standards of fairness, courtesy and accuracy we try to uphold on the site. This was not a borderline case; it was wrong and in failing to establish a process that would prevent this kind of error, I have made a grievous mistake. It’s particularly galling that this mistake was at the expense of a man whose brilliant editorial leadership at the New Yorker has set the standard for American journalism for many years.
I'm not sure what Mead was apologizing for. Mead's main point was that the MSM misunderstands Israel and sees the Palestinian Israeli conflict as central to defining Israel. This is central to Remnick's article. Nothing in his article discusses Abbas's statement implying that it would be better to die than to give up the right of return. Or Morsi's "apes and pigs" comment. In addition Remnick throws in a gratuitous reference to "fascism." Towards the end of the article, he quotes Mkhaimar Abusada, a political science professor from Al Azhar University in Gaza.
“We are going to witness more settlements, a greater encirclement of East Jerusalem, and more frustration and despair. Which means we’ll have one of two scenarios: either meaningless negotiations or, if the stalemate continues, a new round of violence. And, in the end, violence is not a possibility—it’s almost a certainty.”
It isn't clear that Abusada is affiliated with Hamas, but his past writings show that he is an apologist for the terror group. Specifically he writes that there can't be any peace until Hamas is taken into account. I don't think that the adjective "shameful" was inappropriate at all.

Jonathan Spyer shows a much better grasp of the recent election:
Bottom line: the underlying strength and maturity of Israel’s democracy was demonstrated this week. With a region in flames all around them, Israelis pulled off an election with a high turnout (66.6%), conducted efficiently and transparently, focusing on a substantive discussion of the key issues facing the country, but largely devoid of deep division and rancor. The results indicate that a large, sane, pragmatic center is the core presence in Israeli political life. It is to be hoped that the government that emerges from the coalition negotiations will reflect this reality.


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