Egypt vehemently rejected a report on Sunday claiming that Egyptian officials were quietly passing the word in local media to go along with U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.
An article in The New York Times alleged that an Egyptian intelligence officer has been directing talk show hosts to downplay the issue which has provoked widespread anger in the Moslem world.
A statement issued by the State Information Service said; “Egypt’s positions on international issues are not derived from alleged leaks from an anonymous source. Rather, Egypt’s positions are conveyed by the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and in official statements as well. All the entities in charge have expressed in word and deed the inalienable position on Jerusalem in the U.N. and other international organizations with disregard for the threats of the U.S. to cut aid to countries including Egypt over the U.N. Jerusalem vote.”
The article claimed it is common practice for Egyptian intelligence officers to brief talk show hosts about what the state wants to be said or left unsaid in the mass media.
Intel official Captain Ashraf al-Kholi had urged hosts to persuade viewers to accept Mr. Trump’s decision, the Times said, citing taped conversations.
“How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholy asked each of the hosts on the tapes, according to the article.
“The Times‘s report claims that Capt Ashraf al-Kholi is an officer with the Egyptian General Intelligence without presenting its readers with the slightest evidence as to the truth of this piece of information or that a person by this name exists in the first place,” the SIS statement said.
SIS insisted the report was erroneous, pointing out that it named four persons as presenters of “influential talk shows,” including Mofid Fawzy, Saeed Hassaseen, Yousra and Azmi Megahed.
“Fawzy has not hosted any television shows for years while Hassaseen stopped hosting his show weeks before Jerusalem’s developments and he’s currently not hosting any shows,” SIS said in a statement, adding that Hassaseen denied that anyone contacted him.