September 19, 2003 Special Dispatch No. 575

Egyptian Intellectuals Warn Against Suing 'The Jews'

September 19, 2003
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 575

The lawsuit being planned by Egyptian jurists, headed by the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Al-Zaqaziq, Dr. Nabil Hilmi, against "the Jews" regarding "the gold and silver they stole from the Egyptians the night they left Egypt" has been criticized by Egyptian intellectuals on the grounds that it will strengthen the Jewish-Zionist claim to the Holy Land. [1] The following are excerpts from a report on this issue,published in the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi: [2]

This Lawsuit Paves the Way to Acceptance of the Zionist Claims

Abd Al-Wahab Al-Masiri, author of the encyclopedia "Jews, Judaism, and Zionism" and considered by many in the Arab world to be an authority on these subjects, told Reuters that "this legal game will lead us into the Zionist trap, towards acceptance of Jewish thought – which includes tales such as the divine promise [to the Jewish people], [the concept of the Jews being] the Chosen People, the historical continuation of the Jewish people, and the [legend] that the Jews who left Egypt are those who settled in Palestine. Such a lawsuit paves the way to acceptance of the Zionist claims, first and foremost [the claim regarding] the unity of the [Jewish] people throughout history and the belief that the Bible is an historic document."

Al-Masiri stressed the need to separate "history according to the Bible" from "actual history" and explained: "History according to the Bible is the historic story appearing in the Old Testament, and it is different from and counter to actual history. Sometimes it is impossible to study this history unless it is considered nothing more than part of the Jews' religious thought. This history has moral significance and is part of the Jewish faith, and has lessons that are often more important than the story itself."

According to Al-Masiri, suing Israel for damages of this kind will benefit Israel, as "Israel sees itself as the spokesman for all the Jews in the world, including the Jews in the Arab countries."

He added that "the Zionist idea – whether it was [initially] a Jewish idea or not – is the result of the imperialist solution to the Jewish question in Europe, and it emanates from hatred of the Jews and from the desire to be rid of them by transferring them outside the Western world – that is, exporting them, as they export merchandise – and then recruiting them for the benefit of the Western world."

Thus, Al-Masiri suggests refraining from such lawsuits, proposing instead on "insisting that the Zionist phenomenon contradicts actual history and is part of the picture created by the West [during the imperialist period], and that the tools to abolish it are the same tools used in South Africa and Algeria – that is, continuing the struggle until the enemy is exhausted and realizes that it can no longer continue its racism."

The Planned Lawsuit Lacks All Sense

Egyptian author Rifa'at Al-Sayyed 'Ali also criticized the planned lawsuit, asserting that it lacked all sense and constituted "walking blindly… towards the gates of hell." He said that as a result of the initiative, Israel would also demand compensation for the "labor it expended when the Children of Israel were slaves, as mentioned in the Bible. Similarly, it [Israel] would express [its] adherence to the myth of the Land of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, and would evade all international resolutions not cancelled by the statute of limitations, including the right of return." According to him, filing the lawsuit would "grant actual contemporary legitimacy to the text of the Bible, which gives Israel the right to adhere to plundering the entire land of historic Palestine [and the right to cause] all other catastrophes…"

The Jews' Slavery Is Not Historically Proven – And the U.S. Itself Can Be Sued Over Slavery

However, Dr. Nabil Hilmi, the man behind the lawsuit, rejected the claim that his lawsuit might raise the issue of the Jews' slavery in Egypt because, he says, "slavery, in this specific situation, is not historically proven, and if the matter arises, it will be possible to open up the issue of the slaves from Africa, and demand that the U.S. pay huge sums in compensation." Similarly, he stressed the legal rather than the political aspect of the lawsuit and denied that it stemmed from antisemitism.

[1] For more on the lawsuit initiative, see Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for Compensation for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt, "Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt.

[2] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), September 16, 2003.

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