Mona Eltahawy: Selected Quotes On Palestine & Israel

Egyptian And Palestinian Flags In Tahrir Square

Earlier this year Mona Eltahawy told a gathering at the JStreet conference, an anti-Arab group dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, “not one anti-Israeli or anti-American sentiment was expressed” during the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.  She also told the “moderate Zionist” crowd that if they reached out to Arabs “I guarantee you will be met with Arabs from every single country…and I will be there.” (Video of full speech included in article).  Mona’s views earned her a standing ovation from the Zionist lobby, but they are anathema to Egyptians and Arabs. The following is a series of quotes for Mona Eltahawy on Palestine and Israel that date back to 2005. The New York-based revolutionary currently tending to four or five revolutions has a habit of claiming her words are taken out of context.  We have included links to the articles so the readers can view the selected quotes in full context.

In the middle of Israel’s barbaric onslaught, even by Zionist standards, on Gaza in December 2008 Mona described Israel as the “opium of the people” (the Arabs) and was upset why so many of them were concerned about Israel’s colonialism, occupation, and war crimes, and called on Arabs to simply ignore what Israel is doing. She wrote the following:

Israel is the opium of the people. What else explains the collective amnesia in the Middle East?

Focusing on internal issues in each Arab country and ignoring the opium that is Israel? Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians should do it before their states fail for the sake of Palestine.

In  another  article just one week later titled On fence the toughest stance in Mideast Mona Eltahawy refuses to take a side and calls for neutrality:

I was born in Egypt during one war with Israel, have vivid memories of another war with Israel and I was the first Egyptian to live and work in Israel for a Western news agency when I moved there from Cairo at the end of 1997 as a Reuters correspondent.

And here’s the best piece of advice on the Middle East you will get today.

Sit on the fence.

In February 2008 when Egyptian soccer star Abou Trika lifted his jersey to reveal a message of sympathy with the besieged Palestinians in Gaza during a soccer match, Mona became very upset with Egyptian star’s expression of solidarity with Palestinians, and mockingly called him the “latest hero for Palestine.”

After he scored a goal in a recent match against Sudan in the African Nations Cup, Egyptian soccer star Abou Trika lifted his jersey to show an undershirt inscribed with the message “Sympathize with Gaza”. His message earned him a yellow card for violating a no-politics rule but promptly crowned him the latest hero for Palestine.

Mona’s claims that Arabs are not concerned with Israel, or alternatively, they should not be concerned with Israel or American support for Israel is not new. The following is from a NY Times article back in March 2005. Notice the strikingly similarity in language to what she’s been repeating since the 2011 Egyptian uprising.

Unlike most demonstrations that used to take place in Egypt, this latest, on Feb. 21, was not directed at Israel: It was about Egypt…. Too often, political discourse in the Arab world is either defensive or solely preoccupied with America and Israel.


  18 comments for “Mona Eltahawy: Selected Quotes On Palestine & Israel

  1. Kathy
    May 3, 2012 at 6:16 AM

    This “article” certainly takes quotes out of context. There are plenty of progressive Arab male writers who criticize Palestinian leadership so why target her? 

  2. Cyberaim
    August 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    I see some comments here that reminds of the hate that some have in the US. Not much different. 

  3. Cyberaim
    August 26, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Actually, I watched the whole thing. It isn’t at all what those say negatively. If you could speak to a group like this, what would you say? Would you do a battle cry and speak of violence? Or would you speak to the people in a way to unite?

    Sometimes that hate that comes out of mouths are programmed in by the same dictators that taught it.

  4. Karen
    August 25, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    She’s an asshole. Opportunist deceptive asshole. Love how she is “neutral” but has no problem spewing her opinions all over CNN et al. 

  5. Anonymous
    August 24, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    To the brain dead and politically idiotic suppoerters of El Tahaway, if you really beleive there is nothing wrong with her or her self promoting actions on behalf of Arabs and Muslims (the majority of whom reject her) GO TO TAHRIR SQUARE AND CALL A RALLY FOR EGYPTIANS AND MUSLIMS EVERYWHERE TO ABANDON PALESTINE AND RECOGNIZE ISRAEL. DO THIS OPENLY RATHER THAN COWERING BEHIND A KEYBOARD IN THE WEST.


  6. Sarah Hawas
    August 23, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    “Sitting on the fence” regarding Israel is as Zionist as it gets. No stance – or mawqif – is complicity. Moreover, working for an Israeli paper (and flaunting herself as the “first Egyptian” to do so, as though this is a badge of honor, achievement, or otherwise some measure of progress?!) is really raw and obvious normalization. So is speaking to a liberal Zionist group like J Street, on behalf of Egyptians and/or Palestinians.

    There’s a lot more that’s seriously wrong with Mona El Tahawy, too, like her conditional solidarity with Muslim women, which is incredibly anti-feminist. In general she is a stock character in a litany of House Arabs and House Muslims that like to play (mis)interpreter/intermediary between the colonized masses of the Arab world, including Palestine, and the White Man. She is all this and most crucially, she is symptomatic of the single worst disease afflicting the Arab world – a comprador class, the Egyptian transnational ruling elite.

    Ikhrasi ya Mona badal ma nekhrasik. 7asbi Allah feeki we felli zayyik. Inti aslek mish la2ya elli yelemek!

    • Anonymous
      August 24, 2011 at 10:06 AM

       Hi Sarah, 

      This sounds like an article if you care to expand just a bit ,fix it up, and send it to us.  We will post it on Ikhras. 

      • Sarah Hawas
        August 24, 2011 at 7:03 PM

        Sure, will do. Cheers!

    • May 31, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      In the U.S. J Street is considered anti-Zionist and reviled by conservative American Jews.

  7. Aswadstone
    August 23, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    I am not a fan of Mona’s at all, but I see nothing wrong with her comments.

    Dr. Khalid A. Ahmed

  8. Anonymous
    August 23, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    I don’t see anything particularly pro-israel either, you are just trying to demonise her.

  9. Anonymous
    August 23, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    I don’t see anything particularly pro-israel either, you are just trying to demonise her.

    • Sarah Hawas
      August 25, 2011 at 2:35 AM

      Recognizing and then normalizing with the colonial Jewish apartheid state is as pro-Israel as you need to be. Blaming Gazans for electing Hamas is undemocratic, and blaming Hamas for pursuing armed resistance – the legal right of all Palestinians, like all colonized and occupied peoples, under international law – is racist. In fact, pretending that there are two sides to this story, and that there is a fence to sit on in the first place, is pretty racist. It assumes, a priori, that Zionists have a right to rob, colonize, expel, massacre, besiege, starve, suffocate and more generally occupy the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine for over 60 years. It assumes this because it recognizes, normalizes, negotiates, trades, lives with Israel the last colonial apartheid state. There is only one “side” for any moral, just, and conscientious human being: the side of the victim. Join the movement to liberate Palestine, or ikhras.

      • Zaharooorin
        August 25, 2011 at 6:31 PM

        Sarah, my sentiments exactly.

      • Harry
        November 9, 2017 at 10:55 PM

        If a country in the Arab world was colonised by a foreign empire for nineteen hundred years and exiled too, do you think that the occupied would as you put it steal, kill and do what ever it takes to redeem what they had in there possession according to the truths of there history rather then a contrived law that bears no sensibility to that truth????

      • Anonymous
        December 16, 2017 at 12:28 AM

        There’s nothing to liberate. It’s already been liberated from its Muslim occupiers.
        It’s now in the hands of its historically rightfull owners

  10. Mina Samy
    August 23, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    I can’t see what’s wrong with what Mona said, it’s your problem if you can’t see yourselves in the mirror and admit that Israel is really the OPIUM of such a LOSERS like you.

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