Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Mursi, should learn a valuable lesson from last weekend’s terrorist attack in Sinai that killed 16 Egyptian border policemen. Israel is not his country’s enemy, and it could and should be one of its most valuable allies.
Suspected radical Islamist gunmen on Sunday attacked an Egyptian border checkpoint, killing the troops and stealing two vehicles. One managed to burst through a security fence and penetrate about a kilometer inside Israel before Israeli aircraft scrambled and knocked out the truck and killed several of the attackers.
As his first major national security issue, the attack was a rude awakening for Mursi, who comes out of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political tradition of deep hostility to Israel. The Brotherhood was quick to issue a knee-jerk statement on its Ikhwan Online website blaming the Israeli spy agency Mossad for the weekend attack and calling it an attempt to undermine the Mursi presidency.
According to the BBC: “Conspiracy theories are popular across the Arab world and suspicions of Israel often feed into them. Two years ago, the governor of South Sinai even blamed the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, for a series of shark attacks at Red Sea resorts.”
But it goes beyond that. Analyst Jeffrey Goldberg recently wrote: “Anti-Semitism, the socialism of fools, is becoming the opiate of the Egyptian masses. And not just the masses … Today it’s entirely acceptable among the educated and creative classes there to demonize Jews and voice the most despicable anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”