US Urges Morsi to Repudiate Anti-Semitic Remarks

"The language that we've seen is deeply offensive," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Mohamed Morsi
Mohamed Morsi
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The United States on Tuesday condemned the venomous anti-Semitic remarks made by Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi prior to his election, and urged him to immediately clarify his views.

"The language that we've seen is deeply offensive," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding, "We think that these comments should be repudiated, and they should be repudiated firmly."

According to a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi is seen referring in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes."

"We must resist them with all forms of resistance. A military resistance in Palestine against these Zionist criminals assaulting the land of Palestine and Palestinians," he says in the remarks to Quds Channel three years ago.

Morsi, who was a leader of the Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, was elected last year as the Arab nation's first democratically president.

Nuland said Washington had already raised its concerns regarding the television clip with Cairo, and stressed again that Congress, which has blocked part of a $1 billion in additional U.S. aid, was carefully watching the new Egyptian leadership, AFP reported.

"We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This kind of rhetoric has been used in this region for far too long," she told journalists. "It's counter to the goals of peace."

"President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt," added White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The two administration officials stressed, however, that since coming to office, Morsi had reaffirmed Egypt's commitment to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

He had done so "in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us toward shared objectives, including a cease-fire during the crisis in Gaza last year," Carney said.

Washington would judge Morsi by both what he says and does, Nuland added.

"What he has been doing is supporting that peace treaty, continuing to work with us and with Israel on common goals, including in Gaza. But we'll also judge him by what he says."