Engaging Egyptian Brotherhood is OK, White House tells Mizrahi


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration explained its readiness to engage Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in an e-mail to Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi of The Israel Project.

"It’s important to remember that the Muslim Brotherhood is neither a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization nor designated under various counterterrorism executive orders or proclamations," Danielle Borrin, the White House liaison to Jewish groups, wrote Thursday to Mizrahi, the founder of The Israel Project. "There is no legal bar for such meetings. The State Department is continuing the approach of limited contact with the Muslim Brotherhood that has existed since 2006."

Mizrahi had e-mailed Borrin earlier in the day asking about administration contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, and opposes the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace accords.

A number of Jewish groups and Republicans in Congress had pressed the Obama administration to cut off the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of the revolution that in January swept Egypt’s pro-American dictatorship from power.

Borrin said such engagement was consistent with a policy of reaching out to all parties participating in the effort to launch a democracy in Egypt.

"The political landscape in Egypt is continuing to change, and it is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency," she wrote to Mizrahi.

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