Recent Controversies in Egypt Illustrate Anti-Israel Sentiment Still Prevalent » ADL Blogs
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March 2, 2016 2

Recent Controversies in Egypt Illustrate Anti-Israel Sentiment Still Prevalent

Recent con­tro­ver­sies in Egypt illus­trate the preva­lence of anti-Israel sen­ti­ment in a coun­try which has had a peace agree­ment with Israel since 1979.

The lat­est inci­dent involved a din­ner invi­ta­tion by Egypt­ian Par­lia­men­tar­ian Taw­fiq Okasha to Israeli Ambas­sador Haim Koren. Okasha, a TV per­son­al­ity who has a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Semitic remarks on his show, was sub­se­quently ousted from Egypt’s Par­lia­ment after being accused of engag­ing in nor­mal­iza­tion efforts towards Israel. He was also phys­i­cally attacked byan­other Par­lia­men­tar­ian, Kamal Ahmad, who hurled his shoe at Okasha in protest.In a video, Ahmad explained that his action was intended not only toward Okasha, but also toward the Knes­set and the “Zion­ist Entity.” The Al-Yawm As-Sabi news site hosts a video game where play­ers can use a shoe to hit Okasha across the face. At the top of the screen appears the title “Con­grat­u­la­tions, Okasha”, and he is depicted with a black eye in the back­drop of the Israeli flag.

MP Tawfik Okasha (right) hosts Israeli ambassador Haim Koren.

MP Taw­fik Okasha (right) hosts Israeli ambas­sador Haim Koren.

Another exam­ple of anti-Israel sen­ti­ment in Egypt occurred ear­lier this month when the Cairo Inter­na­tional Book Fair fea­tured an Israeli book, Ara­bian Nights.Com, which was writ­ten by Israel Army Radio’s Arab affairs ana­lyst Jackie Hougie. Its inclu­sion resulted in Par­lia­men­tar­ian Muham­mad Al-Masud demand­ing that Egypt’s Cul­ture Min­is­ter launch an inves­ti­ga­tion into the deci­sion to sell the book at the fair.

And a few weeks prior to that, Egypt­ian author­i­ties ordered the can­cel­ing of a screen­ing of Israeli film The Band’s Visit. The film, from 2007, tells the story of an Egypt­ian band arriv­ing in Israel, and deals with the issue of coex­is­tence between Israelis and Egyp­tians. When the issue became pub­lic, Mohammed Munir, the Gov­er­nor of the Cairo Dis­trict, ordered that the screen­ing be can­celed, and announced an inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine which offi­cial had ini­tially approved the film screening.