How would the media and politicians react if 5,000 "activists" chanted “death to Jews” outside a City Hall in your community?
How would European religious leaders react if neo-Nazis packed the Cologne Cathedral or Notre Dame to threaten Muslims, Jews and gays?
We all know the answer: Loud and sustained protests of “Not on our Watch”…
But last Friday, Egypt’s ascendant Muslim Brotherhood provided a foretaste of their definition religious tolerance during a rally convened at Cairo’s most prominent mosques. 5,000 people joined a rally where the chant “one day we shall kill all the Jews “ echoed time and again along with “Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Judgment Day is coming.”
The world’s reaction? So far--stone cold silence. Not from the media, nor Interfaith talking heads, not the EU, and as far as we know nothing from the Obama administration.
If world leaders lacked the courage to protest those genocidal rants over the weekend, they are unlikely to utter a word now that Tuesday’s first round of democratic elections gives every indication that the next Egyptian government will be lead by the very same Muslim Brotherhood.
Unfortunately, weakness and wishful thinking seem to be the twin pillars of current U.S. and Western European thinking about Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, much as it was about Hitler’s Nazi Party during the pre-World War II era of European appeasement.
Formed in the late 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood—an Egyptian organization with global affiliates in North Africa, Hamas-run Gaza, and even Europe and the U.S.—consistently opposed thedemocratic process until a few years ago when it cynically decided that “one man, one vote, one time” could be its ticket to power.
With an estimated 40% of the vote in this week’s Egyptian parliamentary elections—the first since the overthrow of the 30-year authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak—the Muslim Brotherhood now opportunistically denies for political advantage its longstanding opposition toward democracy and the rights of Egypt’s women and Coptic Christians.
But about one thing it’s unwaveringly consistent: its hatred of Israel and Jews everywhere.
Such rants by the Brotherhood are designed not only to mobilize the mass of Egypt’s voters—as high as 80 percent of whom according to recent public opinion polls support Sharia-law imposeddeath sentences for homosexuals, adulterers, and Muslims who convert to another religion—but to lay the groundwork for killing Egypt’s thirty-year old peace treaty with Israel.
Hatred of the Jews has been consistent Brotherhood policy before and during World War II when Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna teamed with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, as well as Adolf Hitler in trying to create a Jew-free Middle East.
The Brotherhood founded its first branch in Britain’s Palestine mandate to fight against the creation of Israel in 1945. Assassinated in Egypt in 1949, Hassan al-Banna never set foot in the Palestinian territories, yet Hamas considers him their “martyr.”
Despite this clear record of hatred for Jews and Israel, as well as imposing Sharia law, western leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, embraced official contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood last July.
The sad truth is that the Obama administration’s “engagement,” in addition to immediately deflating the hopes of Egyptians campaigning for a truly democratic society, will likely produce disastrous results infinitely greater to those spawned by the Bush administration’s decision to legitimate Hamas’ participation in the 2006 Palestinian elections. That led to Gaza’s rapid conversion into a theocratic dictatorship, bringing misery to the people of Gaza, and the firing of thousands of missiles killing and maiming Israeli civilians.
The abrogation by a Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt of its peace treaty with Israel would edge the Middle East, already on edge because of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, closer to a catastrophic regional conflict.
The world must begin to hold the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for their words and deeds. A Muslim Brotherhood unleashed further threatens religious minorities, and the hopes of the multitudes who risked life and limb in Tahrir Square to demand freedom and a better future, not an autocratic theocracy.
There may be no easy answers. But one thing is clear. Global appeasement of the Brotherhood will only ensure that last Friday’s genocidal slogans will soon become tomorrow’s policy.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.