(JTA) — Essam al-Erian, an adviser to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, resigned days after calling for Jews to return to Egypt and leave Israel to the Palestinians.
Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, reportedly resigned Monday, saying he could not hold down the leadership position in his party along with being an adviser working in the Parliament.
Every Egyptian has a right to live in his country, Erian is quoted as saying in an interview late last month with Dream TV. He also reportedly said the Jewish presence in Israel contributes to the occupation of Arab land.
Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under "a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity," Erian said during the television interview. He also questioned why former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled the Jews from Egypt in the first place.
The Anti-Defamation League in a statement Monday welcomed the news of Erian’s resignation. Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, wrote last week to the Egyptian ambassador in Washington, Mohamed Tawfik, calling on the government to take action in the wake of Erian’s remarks.
After the resignation, Foxman said in the ADL statement, “We hope that President Morsi and other Egyptian government leaders will now make it clear that the defamation of Israel and Jews has no place in the country’s national dialogue."
He added, "This broad-brush negative stereotype of Jews by a senior Egyptian official was inappropriate, unacceptable and raises serious questions about the attitudes of some of Egypt’s leaders towards Jews. Essam al-Erian’s resignation should be an example of the consequences for leaders who express such attitudes.”