The Spectacle Blog

Anti-Semitism Is No Excuse for American Inaction in Egypt

By on 2.8.11 | 3:45PM

Aaron Goldstein discovers some examples of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment amid the hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protesters and declares that, voilà! -- the protesters "hold Israel responsible for their lot in life under Mubarak."

But there is no real evidence to support that assertion, and it confuses what's at stake in Egypt and the Middle East.

Anti-Semitism and a hatred for Israel are commonplace in the Middle East, but what is noteworthy about the Egyptian uprising is precisely that it is not animated by these viruses and distractions.

Independent and credible Western journalists confirm this, as do the statements and actions of the protesters themselves.

For example New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof writes:

After spending last week here on Tahrir Square, talking to protesters -- even as President Mubarak's thugs attacked our perimeter with bricks, Molotov cocktails, machetes and occasional gunfire -- I emerge struck by the moderation and tolerance of most protesters...

It's true that one of the most common protester slogans described Mr. Mubarak as a stooge of America, and many Egyptians chafe at what they see as a supine foreign policy.

I saw one [emphasis added] caricature of Mr. Mubarak with a Star of David on his forehead and, separately, a sign declaring: "Tell him in Hebrew, and then he might get the message!" Yet most people sounded pragmatic, favoring continued peace with Israel, while also voicing more outspoken support for the Palestinians, especially those suffering in Gaza.

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