Monday, June 25, 2012

JCPA Deludes On Egypt, Israel Advocacy Suffers

A major pro-Israel daily roundup is falsely claiming the United States supported Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi for the presidency of Egypt.  Morsi was announced the winner of the election yesterday morning by Egypt's Presidential Election Commission. 

Under the headline "Egypt's Secular Forces Condemn US Support For Muslim Brotherhood Candidate," this morning's Daily Alert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) cites an article from the al-Ahram newspaper.  The article quotes secular political leaders upset with their loss in Egypt's presidential election who hint at US interference in elections.  

The idea the U.S. supported Morsi is a ludicrous notion for three reasons.  First, none of the leaders cited give any evidence for their claims of U.S. interference.  Secondly, the losing candidate and former Prime Minister under Mubarak Ahmed Shafiq was a much safer bet for a United States seeking to prevent conflict and instability in the region.  Thirdly, the Obama administration has little self-interest in supporting an Islamist candidate with no experience five months before the U.S. presidential election in November.

However, the Daily Alert represents these baseless and non-sensical statements as "reported support of the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate."  This representation is absolutely dishonest and factually incorrect.  The JCPA should issue a clarification to its Daily Alert subscribers.

Facts are an important cornerstone of Israel's hasbara efforts.With a circulation of tens of thousands, the Daily Alert is considered an authoritative if conservative source on Israel news among pro-Israel activists and constituents.  Of course, organizations like the JCPA are more than entitled to be as conservative as they like.  However, any credible representation of politics should be based on facts.  After all, pro-Israel hasbara organizations such as HonestReporting, Aish, and The David Project aim first and foremost to "provide students and adults with knowledge" to support Israel.  As Dr. Martin Peretz wrote in a 2010 issue of The New Republic, "The facts are on Israel's side."  Informing the pro-Israel movement with facts is not only a common sense move, but also good for hasbara on the whole.

With regards to how the pro-Israel community has analyzed Egypt's elections however, fear-mongering has sometimes replaced level-headed analysis.  As yesterday's post on this blog describes, Israel is right to have some concern about Morsi's win.  However, this concern should be mitigated by a number of on-the-ground considerations.  Unfortunately, this morning's Daily Alert is evidence that one major member of the pro-Israel community seems to care more about sowing fear and mistrust than about informing an earnest pro-Israel public.  

To claim falsely that the Obama administration "reportedly supported" Morsi's candidacy does a disservice to the global pro-Israel community and harms Israel's security by deluding its best and most passionate supporters.  It harms the credibility of the JCPA, and is a juvenile attempt to politicize the security and stability of the Middle East.  The complexity of Egypt's post-revolution politics deserves an honest assessment by Israel and its supporters.  Tunnel vision and partiality is a luxury the Jewish State cannot afford when it comes to its relationship with Egypt.  The JCPA should clarify its misleading item, and strive to present a factual account of a situation with important implications for Israel's security, and that of the region.


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