Officials with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Muslim Brotherhood are distancing themselves from remarks each made this week which have caused critical backlashes.
First, Maen Areikat, the PLO's ambassador to Washington, told reporters that a new Palestinian state would be free of Jews.
"After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated," Areikat said. PLO officials have announced their intention to have the United Nations declare a Palestinian state next Friday.
Former presidential advisor Elliott Abrams pounced on the remarks, calling them "a despicable form of anti-Semitism" and telling a House committee Wednesday that the PLO office in Washington should be closed if it proceeds with the UN initiative.
Now Areikat says his words were taken out of context. "Under no circumstances was I saying that no Jews can be in Palestine," he told the Huffington Post. "What a statement that would be for me to make! I never said that, and I never meant to say such a thing. This is not a religious conflict, and we want to establish a secular state."
Though reporter Joshua Hersh gives Areikat the benefit of the doubt, he also published the full quote:
"I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future. But after the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction I think it would be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated at first."
Get that? "Totally separated" does not mean kicking Jews out of a Palestinian state.
Meanwhile, Hassan al-Brince, a Brotherhood official from Alexandria, is denying an al-Masry al-Youm newspaper report saying al-Brince threatened a new wave of protests and martyrs if Egypt's military council did not set a date for elections by Sept. 27.
In a statement posted by the Brotherhood, al-Brince called the reports "completely devoid of truth … I consider it a cheap attempt to drive a wedge between the Brotherhood and the Military Council, the stridency of which has increased in the recent period."
The statement did not specifically address something else al-Masry al-Youm attributed to al-Brince:
"We will not allow the US and EU to enforce their agendas and homosexuality-promoting laws and the abolition of Islamic Sharia, as the people will not abandon Islam," he said.
Good thing he cleared that up.