US condemns Mohammed Morsi anti-Semitic remarks
The White House has condemned anti-Semitic remarks by Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, who once described Israelis as the “descendants of apes and pigs”.
Photo: Egypt State TV/AP
Mr Morsi’s slurs, which emerged in recordings from 2010, were termed “deeply offensive” by Jay Carney, Mr Obama’s press secretary, who said concerns had been raised with Egyptian officials.
Mr Carney urged Mr Morsi, who has promised to respect Egypt's decades-old peace treaty with Israel, to promptly state publicly that he respects people of all faiths.
“This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt," he said during a briefing at The White House, adding: “It is counter to peace."
The intervention from Washington came amid growing controversy over the three-year-old comments, in a speech and subsequent television interview, which were unearthed by researchers.
Mr Morsi, then a Muslim Brotherhood opposition politician, urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
Last October, weeks after being elected Egypt’s president following its revolution, Mr Morsi was recorded apparently saying “amen” in response to an Imam telling an audience to pray for God to “deal with the Jews and their supporters” and to “disperse them and render them asunder”.
Jewish groups have sharply criticised the remarks and said they raised troubling questions about the future of America’s delicate relations with Egypt’s new leaders.
Israeli officials have anonymously said that the comments are seriously concerning, but have so far avoided public responses in an effort to prevent increased tensions.
Mr Morsi, who would be crucial to any Middle East peace deal, also described Zionists as “hostile by nature” and said “all the talk about a two-state solution and about peace is nothing but an illusion”.
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, said that a group of senior congressman visiting Cairo this week, including Senator John McCain, would reiterate concerns about the comments with Egyptian officials.