EGYPT’S newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape
about three years ago urging his followers to “nurse our children and
our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the
then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as
“bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” “warmongers” and
“descendants of apes and pigs.”
These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a
child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother,
other relatives and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were
considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in
our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.
For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as
murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as extreme views
expressed by radical fringe groups. But they are not. In truth, those
Muslims who think of Jews as friends and fellow human beings with a
right to their own state are a minority, and are under intense pressure
to change their minds.
All over the Middle East, hatred for Jews and Zionists can be found in
textbooks for children as young as three, complete with illustrations of
Jews with monster-like qualities. Mainstream educational television
programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper
articles and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats
and cockroaches, and also to vampires and a host of other imaginary
Consider this infamous dialogue between a three-year-old and a television presenter, eight years before Morsi’s remarks.