by Amr Bargisi and Samuel Tadros
As recently as the 1930s, Jews held ministerial posts in the country.
Today Egypt will play host to the 56th Congress of Liberal International (LI), which bills itself as the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties. Among the nearly 70 parties represented by LI are
Consider the case of Sekina Fouad, a well-known journalist who also serves as the DFP's vice president. In an article published earlier this year, Ms. Fouad dismisses any distinction between Jews and Israelis, the reason for which is "the extremity of the doctrine of arrogance, distinctiveness and condescension [the Jews] set out from and seek to achieve by all means, and on top of which blood, killing, terrorizing and frightening."
She corroborates this argument with an alleged statement by "President" Benjamin Franklin, asking Americans to expel Jews since they are "like locusts, never to get on a green land without leaving it deserted and barren." Needless to say,
Nor is Ms. Fouad some kind of outlier. Take Ayman Nour, who contested the 2005 presidential election under the banner of his own party and was subsequently jailed for nearly four years.
Immediately after his release earlier this year, he attended a celebration organized by opposition groups—including the Muslim Brotherhood—in the northern city of
Then there is the case of
These examples are, sadly, just the tip of an iceberg. What makes them all the more remarkable is that, contrary to stereotype, they do not have particularly ancient roots in
But all that changed with the rise of totalitarian and fascist movements in
Westerners, who tend to treat Arabs with a condescension masked as "understanding," may be quick to dismiss all this as a function of anger at Israeli policies and therefore irrelevant to the development of liberal politics in the Arab world. Yet a liberal movement that winds up espousing the kind of anti-Semitism that would have done the Nazis proud is, quite simply, not liberal.
Messrs. Bargisi and Tadros are senior partners with the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth.
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