This summer saw an eruption of anti-Semitism across Europe that included firebombs thrown at synagogues and cries of “Jews to the gas!” Now the European Parliament has named an Egyptian activist notorious for violent rhetoric against Israel to the list of nominees for its annual Sakharov Prize, named after the great Soviet dissident.
Alaa Abdel Fattah, a Web developer and blogger, was among the secularist leaders of the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak . He was sentenced to 15 years in prison earlier this year for violating the restrictive new protest law enacted by the regime of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. He is out on bail, pending a retrial.
Mr. Abdel Fattah may have been brave in confronting authoritarianism in his own country. But his rhetoric on Israel and moderate Arabs is another story. “One should only debate human beings,” he tweeted in 2009. “Zionists and other imperialists are not human beings.” In late 2010 he tweeted: “Dear zionists please don’t ever talk to me, I’m a violent person who advocated the killing of all zionists including civilians.”
“My heroes have always killed colonialists,” Mr. Abdel Fattah tweeted in 2010, linking to a news article marking the death of Abu Daoud, the Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes.
In 2012 he wrote: “Assassinating [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat isn’t something that should shame a man, but instead honor him.”
Mr. Abdel Fattah’s nomination is part of a pattern of subverting the Sakharov Prize to embarrass certain unpopular supporters of global freedom, such as the U.S. and Israel. The Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, or GUE/NGL, the parliamentary bloc that put forth Mr. Abdel Fattah’s name, nominated Edward Snowden for last year’s prize.
Such stunts sully the legacy of Andrei Sakharov who, according to his wife, the dissident Yelena Bonner, once said that “all wars that Israel has waged have been just, forced upon it by the irresponsibility of Arab leaders.” The European Parliament should uphold this distinction and remove Mr. Abdel Fattah’s name from the list.
UPDATE (h/t pdxnag): Egyptian Anti-Semitic Activist Loses Sakharov Prize Nomination