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Group: Egypt should be compelled to tone down anti-Semitic rhetoric in exchange for US military aid

A leading Jewish rights group on Tuesday called on the Obama administration to require Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to rein in the anti-Semitic rhetoric in exchange for a shipment of F-16s and other military equipment – after another set of offensive comments by Egypt’s leader was uncovered.

"America must not signal that it will be business as usual with the government of the Arab world's largest and most powerful nation, while they continue to characterize Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, war mongers, and threaten anti-Semitic Jihads,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights group that monitors global anti-Semitism.

“Now is the time for American leadership to demand an end to Egypt’s public anti-Semitic posturing. The mainstreaming of Jew hatred in the Arab and Muslim world will not only end hopes for any Middle East peace deal, but puts Jews in jeopardy around the world," Hier added. 

Egypt is set to receive 20 F-16 jets and 200 Abrams tanks, as part of a foreign aid package signed when American ally Hosni Mubarak was president. 

Earlier Tuesday, the White House strongly condemned remarks Morsi made almost three years ago about Jews. 

Morsi was a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 when, according to video broadcast last week on Egyptian television he asked Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred." Months later, in a television interview, Morsi referred to Zionists as bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians, describing Zionists as "the descendants of apes and pigs." 

White House spokesman Jay Carney called Morsi’s language "deeply offensive" and said Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths. He said the U.S. government has raised its concerns about the remarks with Egypt.

Carney said these statements run counter to peace and a democratic Egypt.

Since being elected in June, Morsi has promised to abide by Egypt's decades-old peace treaty with Israel. The White House says adherence to those commitments is essential for U.S. relations with Egypt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.