When it comes to the crisis in Egypt, Israel is the problem. So says George Soros a well-known and very controversial Jewish philanthropist. “The main stumbling block is Israel,” writes Soros in Thursday’s Washington Post, claiming that Israel’s refusal to embrace change and accept the new democratic regime that will step into power in Egypt will undermine the chance of freedom in the Middle East. It is all Israel’s fault. This coming from a Jew, a powerful one, whose voice is heard across the globe.
Soros’ anti-Israel stance is nothing new. He has gone so far as to blame Israel for the rise of global anti-Semitism. His comments in the Washington Post capture how absurd his position is. Since 1979, Israel has been at peace with Egypt. If this peace were to disappear, the nightmare that could replace it would be disastrous.
There are many who are standing in solidarity with those taking to the streets against the Mubarak government and certainly many of the protestors deserve our support. However, we cannot overlook or downplay the role that Muslim extremists are playing on the streets of Egypt – particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is not a moderate, democratic, freedom loving organization. On the contrary, it is an organization that is committed to spreading Islamic law through jihad. It is represented by and connected to radical, anti-Semitic xenophobes who are often associated with terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. Many do not realize that the Muslim Brotherhood was linked to the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat who made peace with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood is not interested in peace with Israel. Just the other day, Rashad al-Bayoumi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, said that “after President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel.”
Israel is no stumbling block. She is, like the rest of us, a bystander. Plus, she is a neighbor. And she is watching the crisis in Egypt escalate. There is no one in charge of this country. And if the extremists get their way, the new government will seriously jeopardize the safety and security of Israel. If Israel expresses concern it is not because she is refusing to embrace change – it is because she is committed to the well-being of her people.
To accuse Israel of hindering change in Egypt, as Mr. Soros has done, only fans the flames of anti-Semitism that are already burning throughout the Middle East.
Last week, 400 of my colleagues signed a letter sponsored by the Jewish Fund for Justice condemning a controversial talk show host for his use of Nazi images to describe George Soros. The letter, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, left some of us in the Jewish community baffled. Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the Vice-President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, an organization that is quoted in the letter and appears to lend its support to the letter, responded earlier this week, writing:
“This absurdity and the fact that these rabbis have never seen fit to comment on Mr. Soros’s support for entities that have harmed Israel and Jewish interests (and in my view, Western interests generally), force me to speak out…I…know that in my 30 years of participation in large-scale annual commemorations I have yet to meet a survivor who expressed support for Mr. Soros.”
I do hope that my colleagues who signed the letter in support of Mr. Soros take a firm stance against his dangerous words about Israel. I for one find his words reprehensible. By all means, I support the creation of democratic government in Egypt – but not at the expense of Israel – the Jewish state and the only democracy in the region. This doesn’t make me a stumbling block. This makes me a Jew.