Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ending Demonization of Jews Must Be Part of Egypt's Democratic Aspirations

Huffington Post, surprises with an important article by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance:

Ending Demonization of Jews Must Be Part of Egypt's Democratic Aspirations

Let's face it. The people's revolt in the streets of Egypt caught everyone by surprise and so-called experts and pundits are still scrambling to contextualize it and prophesy about the nation's future.

But the 18-day drama proved that revolutions are messy -- even ones birthed on Google and sustained by Facebook and Twitter. Ask CNN's Anderson Cooper or FOX News' Gregg Palkot, who were among the journalists attacked in Tahrir Square.

Now comes belated word of the brutal mob sexual assault on Lara Logan, a veteran correspondent covering for CBS' 60 Minutes during the jubilant celebration over Hosni Mubarak's ouster. The network had apparently made a decision not to go public about the incident and released details only after it was clear that other media would break the story.

It was painful listening to CBS's description of the horrors the mother of two suffered after she was separated from her crew and assaulted. Thank G-d she was finally rescued and we pray for her full recovery.

But it is a shame that CBS omitted one important detail from their release: The 200 member mob was screaming "Jew, Jew" during their vicious attack. Logan is not Jewish.

Why is this important? Because the issue isn't just the hate of one frenzied mob, but a society's mindset. For in today's Egypt, a nation searching for its 21st century identity, there is no more vile a curse that you can hurl at someone than to call him or her a Jew. A dangerous exaggeration? I don't think so: A 2010 Pew Poll confirmed that 95 percent of Egyptians hold negative views about Jews.
That fact may help explain why simultaneously there were anti-Mubarak protesters holding posters with President Mubarak's face covered by the reviled Star of David, even as pro-Mubarak forces depicted western media as spies for Israel and protesters as agents of "outside forces." And who might those sinister forces be? A few years back, official Egyptian state television ran a 41-part series during Ramadan titled "Horseman without A Horse" based on the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the vicious Czarist-era conspiratorial screed swallowed whole by large swaths of Arabs and Muslims "proving" that Jews lurk behind every evil in the world.
Officially sanctioned anti-Semitism, the popular negative stereotypes ingrained in books, combined with the hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, make the Jew Egypt's poster child for all things hated or feared.
Read rest of the article here:

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