Egypt’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to expel Tawfik Okasha from the legislature for the apparently unforgivable sin of inviting the Israeli ambassador in Cairo for dinner. The picture of him meeting with the ambassador took that opposition into a full rage. Now remember that Egypt has full diplomatic relations with Israel, but Okasha’s merely having dinner with the ambassador resulted in a vote of 465 out of 490 legislators supporting this expulsion.
The bizarre actions of the parliament shows the irrational level of hatred in Egypt toward Israel and the lack of protections for free speech or association in the country. I am not ignoring the strong opposition to Israel or the view of many in country that Israel is denying basic human rights of Palestinians. However, this is still a country with which there are official diplomatic relations and a legislator should have the liberty of speaking with diplomats. Indeed, Okasha could have been trying to influence the ambassador or to establish a better understanding between the countries.
Okasha is a television presenter who has been controversial in the past. A former member of Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, Okasha was ridiculed for his support for Egypt’s military rulers and even supported the Israeli army’s operations in Gaza and has called on its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Iran. Yet, he was exercising free speech in taking those positions — just as he was practicing free speech and association in meeting with the ambassador.
The actions of the parliament are only the latest example of how Egypt is losing core values of free speech and civil liberties.
18 thoughts on “Egypt Expels Lawmaker For Inviting Israeli Ambassador to Dinner”
I apologize for Paul C. Schulte’s lowering the standards of this website. I had the initial impression that most the posters on this website were generally capable of intelligent discussion, without having to resort to infantile ad hominem attacks to conceal some personal deficiencies. So far, Paul C. Schulte is the first exception. I hope that he’s the last.
Count Beobulf – in what I have said, what is ad hominem? You know it is not ad hominem if it is the truth.
Guess who’s coming to dinner. A Communist female shows up at daddy’s house with a friggin Christian and tells mommy and daddy that they are to be married by a guy in a Mao hat with a cross on his behind. In Russia such a marriage guy is known as The Rear Guard. This is so that when they croak they have at least two bases covered. A year later a Communist femail daugher shows up at daddy’s house (same house) with her marriage partner to be who happens to be another female. The Rear Guard guy refuses to perform the ceremony so they seek help on ebay. This movie is coming soon to a theatre near you.
@Paul C. Schulte: I humbly apologize for bringing up Astaire’s Jewish roots and I’m sorry that doing so offended you. Please don’t cease enjoying Astaire’s films or enjoying the music of his friends George Gershwin or Irving Berlin because of their heritage. After all, Hitler could still enjoy the operetta “Die lustige Witwe (“The Merry Widow) even after he learned that the librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, were Jews. In fact, it continued to remaine his favorite opera of all, even above those composed by the great Richard Wagner. Again, please accept my humble apologies.
Count Beowulf – your poor sense of scholarship is what offends me. You do a great job of hiding behind new material, but it is still all B.S.
@Paul C. Schulte: Technically you are correct. Astaire became an Episcopalian in his youth. But his father was born in Linz, Austria to Jewish parents who had converted to Roman Catholicism and his mother was born in the U.S. to Lutheran German immigrants. Astaire was proud of his Jewish heritage and many of the important people in his life were Jews or had Jewish heritage. The great composer Johann Strauss II, though also a Christian, similarly had Jewish heritage, was proud of his heritage, and many of his closest friends were Jews. When Hitler came to power in Germany, and he attempted to destroy all elements of Jewish culture in Germany, Johann Strauss II came under his radar and he attempted to ban Strauss’s music from Germany. But he quickly abandoned those efforts because Strauss was too ingrained in German culture. So he did the next best thing. He attempted to purge all records of Strauss’ Jewish lineage and associations. Since many Muslims take a similar Hitlerian attitude toward Jews, my comment about Astaire alludes to that same broad brush.
Here’s a video of Astaire with his close Jewish friends, Oscar and June Levant, discussing another mutual friend, the great American songwriter, Irving Berlin, also of Jewish heritage:
Count Beowulf – I have friends of many religious stripes including atheism. It does not make me anyone of them. I am not technically correct, I am actually correct. And you should admit it.
@issacbasonkavichi” Caution must be exercised in referencing Fred Astaire (born Frederick Austerlitz). Some may be offended because Astaire was a Jew, and Astaire once controlled the U.S. dancing industry, along with his friend and fellow cabal member, Irishman Eugene Curran Kelly.
Count Beowulf – Fred Astaire Dance Studios was co-founded by Charles Casanave, Chester Casanave, & Fred Astaire in 1947. Fred Astaire was a church-going Episcopal.
I believe I have remarked on several other threads that anti-semitism brainwashing is quite common among extremist regimes, and that extremism is the norm, not the exception among Muslim theocracies. Moderates have to come here.
People can deny it all they want, but the fact remains that the ME is certainly not as free or tolerant as the US. Firing someone from their job by a massive majority vote, merely for dining with a Jew, is another recognizable sign of extremism.
The most troubling aspect is that the trend appears to be towards more extremism, rather than embracing tolerance and modern views on liberty and equality (see Turkey and Egypt.)
Isaac – perhaps the unfortunate ambassador made a major faux pas and touched someone with his left hand, the hand used to clean your backside in countries that use watering cans and your hand instead of toilet paper.
The expulsion of Tawfik Okasha from the legislature for inviting the Israeli ambassador in Cairo to dinner is certainly understandable in the context of Egyptian politics. I could readily see maybe meeting with the ambassador fro breakfast and perhaps even pushing the envelope by inviting him to lunch. But dinner? That’s clearly over the top. He’s lucky that his only punishment was expulsion from the legislature. One can’t be too careful about these things in Islamic based Middle East nations.
The current administration, that is.
The vote was fairly close. I do think Egypt is trying to get out of its ties with Israel.
More needs to be surfaced here: What were they serving? Did the Israeli use the wrong hand to eat with? Did the Israeli forget to recite the proper mumbo jumbo before diving in, with the wrong hand? Let’s not be too quick to judge. These people, yes these people, the Muslims, are a complicated group. Ya have to be very very careful how you scratch your butt. The Israeli might be a toe tapper and there is absolutely no dancing in this repressive retarded world of Islam. Some Muslims have evolved and escaped, so they can dance. But in some countries the proper response is, “I won’t dance, don’t ask me.”
This behavior is crazy and insane, even by Arab standards–and that’s saying something. Let me get this straight–Egypt currently has diplomatic ties with Israel, yet an Egyptian lawmaker, who dared to have dinner with the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, is penalized for openly cavorting with a diplomat? Centuries of inbreeding–where Muslim Arabs routinely and commonly marry first cousins–has robbed these throwbacks of any semblance of normalcy. No wonder statistics indicate that severe birth defects are rampant within Muslim communities, where hundreds of years of marrying first cousins has served to doom them.
Heck, Americans got no right to condemn other nations for exerting social pressure on its members. A slice of Political Correctness with that pork chop, anyone??? We don’t even allow bakers to tell gay couples to pound sand about that wedding cake, for just one example. Say the “N” word seventeen years ago, and its out the door with you! And if you hang up a Confederate Flag, oh its Katie Bar The Door.
I think the folks in Egypt are wrong, but I can’t condemn them as an American when my own country is such a screwed up poop pit of political correctness.
“Losing core values”? The place never had them.
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