(CAIRO) — A spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi says the angry slurs the leader made against Jews and Zionists during interviews in 2010 were taken out of context.
His office was responding to videos in which Morsi, who as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists.
Morsi also described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
But according to a Morsi spokesman, the comments actually described what he termed were the racist policies of Israelis toward Palestinians and weren’t meant to denigrate Jews.
The Egyptian leader had to come up with an explanation for his 2010 comments because he was being visited by a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, led by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
Morsi tried to assure the U.S. delegation that he respects all monotheistic religions as well as religious freedom.
Earlier in the week, Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily press briefing that Morsi “should make clear he respects people of all faiths,” adding, “We strongly condemn these comments…This type of rhetoric is unacceptable in a democratic Egypt.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN