Earlier in the month Al-Rahma Arabic language TV featured Egyptian clerics discussing the Jewish people. After revisiting age-old anti-Semitic slurs likening Jews to "donkeys, apes and pigs," the clerics went so far as to say that indoctrinating children to "loathe Jews" is, to them, among the highest forms of "Allah-worship." These are of course not such shocking revelations, however, given their prevalence across the Islamic world.
What is interesting about this particular interview though, is that the clerics spin a revisionist history in which Benjamin Franklin is an anti-Semite who sought to drive the "dangerous" Jews out of the then-fledgling United States via the Constitution.
Below is a portion of the transcript provided by the dedicated staff at MEMRI. According to the cleric:
US President Benjamin Franklin said: "A great danger threatens the United States of America. That danger is the Jewish danger. In whichever land the Jews have settled, they have corrupted the morals, and lowered the level of commercial honesty. [...]
If Palestine were given back to them, not all of them would go there, because they are parasites and cannot live at the expense of their own kind. They must live among the Christians or others not of their race.
If these Jews are not expelled from the United States by the Constitution, within a century, they will be streaming into the US in such large numbers that will enable them to rule and destroy our people. They will change the form of government...Within less than a century, our grandchildren will have to work in the fields in order to feed the Jews, while the Jews control the financial institutions. If the American people do not deport the Jews once and for all, their children and grandchildren will curse them in their graves.
The cleric goes on to assert that Ben Franklin said the values of Jewish people "are not the same as the Americans," and that they never could be. "The Jews will pose a danger to America, if they are allowed freely in. They will destroy US institutions, and the Americans must deport by the Constitution." The cleric concludes his tangent by saying, "these are the words of US President Franklin."
MEMRI also transcribed the entire vitriolic rant which was exhaustive in length. We have selected a few choice passages to share:
Egyptian cleric 'Alaa Said: The [Jews] are treacherous. Allah, who created them, told us so. We must be resolute and fill hearts with hatred and loathing. By Allah, the hatred and loathing of Jews is a form of worship. When we make our children loathe the Jews, it is a form of worship of Allah. These are people hated and loathed by Allah. [...]
They were deported from England by King Edward, and from France by King Philip. They were deported from Hungary, from Belgium, from Czechoslovakia, from Austria – I won't start with the dates – from Holland, from the Kingdom of Naples, from Russia… Wherever they go they get deported and then they return. For example, they went back to France and to Hungary, and were deported again. If they are good people, how come people get rid of them?
Allah punished them by transforming them into apes and pigs, and by prohibiting them from eating several edible things. [...]
Egyptian cleric Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sawi: In the Koran, Allah called the Jews "donkeys." Donkeys. They are donkeys. What can you do with a donkey? [...]
[The Jews] support all the means of corruption. They support whorehouses. They support satellite dishes in order to air whatever they like. Birth control pills and devices are supported by the Jews. Dr. Shihab quoted President Franklin, who was US president 40-50 years ago. He said that they spread corruption even among the Americans. That is why they were deported from everywhere.
With a mindset such as this -- and the twisting of the words and deeds of historical figures like Ben Franklin -- how can the West combat such revisionist history? With a culture that rewards children from the cradle to revere and propagate anti-Semitism, it is difficult to see how the prevailing mindset of the Egyptian and greater Islamic world could ever been convinced to embrace a respect for humanity and people of all walks, and live in peace side by side with Israel.