The New York Times earlier this month announced “an important expansion” of its opinion offerings, adding more than two dozen new contributors from around the world slated to write monthly columns.
Among them is Egyptian best-selling author Alaa Al-Aswany, quoted frequently in the English-language media and described as a “liberal” Egyptian voice, as well as “The Face of Egypt’s Uprising” and a “defender of democracy” during the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations against then-President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
But an Egypt scholar has now revealed Aswany’s other points of view, geared to an Arabic-speaking audience.
According to Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aswany is “among Egypt’s most prolific conspiracy theorists, and he often uses his very public platform to reinforce some of Egypt’s most popular bigotries,” The New Republic notes.
Because Aswany voices his more controversial opinions in Arabic, the Western press doesn’t notice.
For example, Aswany told Egyptian television that a “massive Zionist organization rules America,” thus “Obama is not able to go against Israel’s desires.”
After Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was ousted July 3, Aswany tweeted, “Obama is worried because Israel is worried.”
When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) traveled to Egypt in August to encourage the military to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood, Aswany tweeted, “The Zionist John McCain, one of the biggest defenders of Israel, threatens Egypt if it does not release [Brotherhood leader Khairat al-] Shater immediately. The only explanation is that Brotherhood rule is in the interest of Israel.”
Trager, who speaks Arabic, examined recent statements by Aswany, including his Twitter postings, revealing that Aswany has said that “the United States supports the Muslim Brotherhood to reassure Israel,” an opinion he has stated repeatedly since June.
Trager points out the illogic behind saying Israel supports the Muslim Brotherhood, considering the Islamist group’s desire to form a global caliphate that would wipe out Israel, not to mention that its Gaza branch, Hamas, is in an extended state of war with the Jewish State.
“How, exactly, does it benefit Israel when an extremely anti-Israel organization such as the Brotherhood is governing Egypt?” Trager writes. “In the real world, of course, it doesn’t.”
However, Aswany posits that a Brotherhood-led government somehow increases Israel’s security and that a weak Egypt allows Israel to dominate the region.
“Zionist support for the Brotherhood prevents Hamas from attacking Israel,” Aswany tweeted in August.
Aswany tweeted in July, “Western governments that often collude against Egypt for the benefit of Israel are now embracing and adopting the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood for them is the greatest guarantee that Egypt remains weak and backward.”
Trager quips, “Has Aswany considered the possibility that the Times’ decision to grant him a monthly column is, itself, a Brotherhood-Zionist plot intended to weaken him?”
“It is a choice that the [New York] Times will regret, however, because despite his brave stance against Mubarak and his broadly progressive pronouncements in English, Aswany is hardly a liberal,” writes Trager.
TheBlaze reached out to the New York Times media relations department to inquire if they have any comment on Trager’s reporting. We will update this space with any response they may provide.
Trager’s full article which includes links to Aswany’s Arabic tweets can be found here.