ZOA Calls On Mubarak To Dismiss Minister Calling For The Burning of Israeli Books
May 15, 2008


Israel Amb.: Now cannot continue agenda with Egypt



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Egyptian government to dismiss the Egyptian Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni, who said at a conference held in the Egyptian legislature last week that that he “would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries.” Hosni has a record of fierce anti-Israeli deeds. In the past, he accused Israel of trying to steal Egyptian culture, and he adamantly opposes any cooperation with Israel. He also opposed an initiative presented by the American Jewish Committee to establish a museum of Jewish antiquity and culture in Cairo. Hosni is Egypt‘s candidate for heading UNESCO, the United Nations’ education, science and cultural organization secretary-general, and he has good chances of being chosen.


The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, Shalom Cohen, defined this statement in a classified report that he submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem as “harsh and especially blunt, in a way which makes it impossible for Israel and for the international community to continue a regular agenda with Egypt.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry is likely to make a severe protest to the Egyptian government and has already made one directly to the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv (Itamar Eichner, Egyptian culture minister: I would burn Israeli books myself,’ Yediot Ahronot, May 14, 2008).


On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to leave for Sharm al-Sheikh in order to participate in a summit with U.S. President George W. Bush, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. She is likely to raise the issue in her discussions with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is astonishing that a minister in the government of a country that has signed a peace treaty with Israel should continue to occupy that position when he calls hatefully for the burning of Israeli books. The Nazis called for and performed such acts. It was unacceptable then and it ought to be unacceptable now.


“Imagine if an Israeli government minister called for burning all Egyptian books. If this occurred, there is no question that Egypt would demand his dismissal and that Israel would accede to this request. Moreover, it is deeply troubling that, despite a formal peace, there are no cultural or professional ties between Israel and Egypt, at Egypt‘s insistence, of lawyers, doctors, scholars, writers and artists. Nor has Egypt fulfilled its treaty obligations to co-operate with Israel in stopping the smuggling of terrorists and weaponry into Gaza and Israel.


“Farouk Hosni’s inflammatory rhetoric helps to nurture and entrench the anti-Israel hatred that suffuses Egyptian society, thanks to the incendiary government-controlled media that the Mubarak government does nothing to moderate. Israel should do more than protest Hosni’s conduct – it should demand his dismissal. If the Mubarak government means to preserve peace and abide by the 1979 peace treaty, it is obligated to do no less.”



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