Friday, January 04, 2013

Egyptian Official Invites Egyptian Jews In Israel To Return To Egypt

As reported by the Jerusalem Post last week, in Egypt high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian called in a television interview for Egyptian Jews living in Israel to return to Egypt and leave Israel to the Palestinians.  In an interview last month on Dream TV, el-Erian said: "Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity." Israel's Channel 10, reporting on el-Erian's remarks had a sardonic comment: "After thousands of years since Egyptian Jews left Egypt, finally someone has called for their return." However Al Arabiya characterized Channel 10's comment as expressing "content" over the invitation. Yesterday, AP reported on the spectrum of reactions in Egypt to el-Erian's comments. President Morsi's office dissociated Morsi from the remarks. Some in Egypt saw the invitation as an attempt to create an appearance of tolerance while other minorities, particularly Coptic Christians, are increasingly worried about persecution. Some feared Morsi's statement that every Egyptian has a right to live in Egypt could open the door to claims for compensation by Egyptian Jews in Israel for property taken from them or left behind. Others saw this as part of the attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to reconcile its historic anti-Israel and anti-Jewish pronouncements with its new responsibilities to govern Egypt. A few in Egypt called for a more serious look at Egypt's past treatment of its Jewish community.