The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that since the July 2013 removal of Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government in Egypt, both supporters of Morsi and his opponent have used stark antisemitic propaganda.
“Each camp accuses members of the other camp of being Jewish and of implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.One manifestation of the current regime’s de-legitimization campaign against the MB is comparing them to Jews and Zionists,” says MEMRI.
The Muslim Brotherhood is said to resembles global Zionism. It is even claimed that the founder of the Islamist group, Hassan Al-Bana, was Jewish.
Facebook profiles “depict MB members as Jews masquerading as Muslims, and feature images of Morsi in Jewish garb and MB symbols emblazoned with Stars of David”.
And Brotherhood supporters invoke these charges in reverse as well, “portraying members of the current regime, chiefly Al-Sisi himself and president Adly Mansour, as Jews implementing the Protocols.”
Newspaper articles as well as television interviews seek to play off the long-standing anti-Semitic trope, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – a phoney book published as a kind of manual for how Jews would take over the world. The document has been proved to be a fake, though both sides in the struggle for Egypt clearly think enough Egyptians believe in it for it to have an impact.
In an “investigative report” in the daily Al-Wafd, Magdi Salama also argued that the MB was implementing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and cited a few examples. He wrote: “Whoever reads the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which were formulated by the priests of global Zionism 116 years ago, and then scrupulously examines what the MB is currently doing in Egypt, discovers something grave: The MB is implementing the Protocols to the letter!
An article in the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef from August 2013 claimed that MB founder Hassan Al-Bana was “a Moroccan Jew planted by the Freemasons in order to found the movement.”
Various different images, such as the one above which depicts the Egyptian boot stomping on the Muslim Brotherhood logo with a Star of David attached, have been posted to Facebook profiles to show leading Egyptian figures as “Jews Masquerading as Muslims”.
An article by Muslim Brotherhood operative Maher Ibrahim Ga’awan entitled “A Gift of Coup for the Zionists,” was posted on on the website of the MB’s Freedom and Justice party, though it was later removed. It claimed that Morsi’s ouster has led to “The birth of a new partner and strategic asset for the Zionists with the slogan ‘divide and conquer'”, the “following the path of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ in order to eliminate the Islamic project”, the restoration of “tyranny, and oppression to Arab peoples, which causes Israel to grow and flourish…” as well as many more anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tropes.
MEMRI has also uncovered that in July last year there was a claim that interim Egyptian president Adly Mansour was Jewish: “The day after Al-Sisi declared Morsi’s ouster and Mansour’s appointment to president, the MB website quoted a post by Al-Jazeera host and MB sympathiser Ahmed Mansour on his Facebook page, which stated: “Those who think that the new Egyptian president is a Muslim – here is the truth about him. The new Egyptian president is an Adventist, which is a Jewish sect that tried to grow close to Christianity but the Coptic patriarch refused to convert them… Congratulations on your Jewish and Christian regime”.”
That such blatant and grotesque anti-Semitic slurs are used in modern day Egypt is perhaps a sign that the country is far from a peaceable reconciliation within itself, and that its peaceful relationship with its neighbouring state of Israel is at future risk.
Egypt and Israel have worked together closely over the past decade, with one Israeli diplomat stating: “Egypt is not only our closest friend in the region, the co-operation between us goes beyond the strategic.”
But with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment so flagrantly abused, who is to say how long such a scenario can hold?