The remark

by Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, was an attempt to explain a previous statement to the effect that Jews who once lived in Egypt should return to their home country and leave Israel to the Palestinians.

“There are people in Palestine who occupied it, and those occupiers have prior homelands,” Erian wrote on his Facebook page. The quotes were cited by the London-based pan-Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Israel, he claimed would cease to exist within the next decade.

“There won’t be a thing called Israel anymore; only Palestine, and it’ll contain Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze, and all of the people who lived there to begin with,” he said. “Anyone who wants to stay will stay as a Palestinian citizen.”

Thus, he explained, “all of those who occupied it” — including Jewish former residents of Egypt – “will have to return to their homelands.”
Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (photo credit: BBC screen capture)
Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (photo credit: BBC screen capture)


On Sunday, during a television interview, Erian said that “Jews [in Israel] of Egyptian origin should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity.”

He also questioned why former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled the Jews from Egypt in the first place.

The office of the Egyptian president and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party attempted to distance themselves from the comments, apparently not due to Erian’s implication that Israel has no right to exist, but rather due to the implication that the tens of thousands of Jews who were expelled from Egypt in the wake of Israel’s establishment would be welcome in their country of birth.

“Erian’s statements don’t represent the stance of the presidency, and he isn’t an official spokesman of the president’s office,” the president’s statement said.

“The Jews of Egypt are criminals who deserve to be punished for what they’ve done to Egypt and the Palestinians,” said Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan.