Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman tells Newsmax that a takeover of the Egyptian government by radical Islamists would be a “disaster” for Western interests, the flow of oil, Israel, and moderate Arab states. But he cautions that the revolution in Egypt is unfolding far differently than the uprising in Iran that led to a fundamentalist state.
There is no way to be sure what will ultimately follow the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, says Foxman, who talked to Newsmax.TV as he was attending the ADL’s National Executive Committee meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. But referring to reports that the banned Muslim Brotherhood is trying to make inroads with Egyptian government, Foxman declares: “The Muslim Brotherhood has been around for a long time. It’s dangerous because they’re the only organized group in Egypt today.
“On the other hand, I would say the people who have been in charge of ruling Egypt for the last 30 years know what the Muslim Brotherhood is. They’ve kept it out of the process because they know they’re not only anti-democratic, they’re anti-West, they’re anti-Israel, they’re anti-tolerance. They’re for shariah. They’re for a Muslim takeover of government.
“A lot of people compare Egypt to Iran, but there is a difference. In Iran the revolution was brought about by clerics. Khomeini was not someone who was preaching democracy. He was preaching radical Islam.
“So the people in the streets who brought about the revolution were fundamentalist, extremist Muslims,” Foxman said.
In Egypt, he said, “the Muslim Brotherhood may be part of it. But they’re not the leadership. They’re not the ones who brought about this revolution.
“This revolution is about food, jobs, dignity, respect, freedom, democracy. I would put it in that order and not necessarily begin with democracy. Most people want jobs, want to be able to teach their kids, raise families, have respect, dignity, and then justice, freedom, and democracy.”
Asked what would happen if Egypt did turn into a radical Islamist state, Foxman replied, “What is it going to mean for democracy, for America, for Western interests? It will be a disaster.
“It will abrogate the peace treaty [with Israel]. It will turn Egypt from a peaceful neighbor to an enemy. It will possibly align with Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran, so it’s not a question of what it will do to Israel. It’s a question of what it will do to our ideals, to our values, to our interests, what it will do to oil, what it would do to the moderate Arab states. It could be a tsunami. And therefore the next few days are very significant.
“The good news is that here is a revolution that did not move in the direction of a violent cataclysm.
“But it’s not over. There are 80 million people in Egypt. Even a hundred thousand or a half a million or a million protesters - is that the will of the people? We don’t know. There’s no way to predict what will happen. All we can is hope for the best.”
Foxman also opines that Muslims have the right to build a mosque at ground zero in Manhattan, but it would be an insensitive mistake to do so; says he is pleased with President Barack Obama for toughening his stand against Iran’s nuclear weapons development program; and declares that American values will never permit shariah law to take hold in the United States.
Foxman has been national director of the ADL since 1987. His latest book is “Jews and Money: The Story of a Stereotype.” The ADL, founded in 1913, is one of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations dedicated to fighting bigotry of all kinds.