Egyptian veteran actress Yousra announced that she will be filing a complaint through the State Information Service against American newspaper The New York Times’ Cairo bureau, after her name was published in a report accusing Egyptian TV personalities, including herself, of taking orders from an Egyptian intelligence officer to get the country’s public to accept US President Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, reported Masrawy news portal.
The report caused outrage in Egypt’s artists’ community. During a phone interview to “Al-Asema” (The Capital) program on Saturday, president of the Actors’ Syndicate Ashraf Zaki announced that the syndicate will be strongly supporting the actress in “suing these programs and websites that are playing against Egypt.”
The debate caught fire when The New York Times published a report on Saturday titled “Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move” by David D. Kirkpatrick, the Times’ London-based international correspondent.
The report claimed the existence of an audio recording of telephone calls where an Egyptian intelligence officer by the name of Ashraf Al-Khouly instructed hosts of several talk shows to, “instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it.”
While Egypt would denounce the decision in public, Al-Khouly reportedly said that it is not in the interest of the state for relations with Israel to remain conflictual.
Television host Azmi Megahed allegedly confirmed the authenticity of the record, the article said.
The TV personalities mentioned in the New York Times report denied involvement in the case, saying they do not know anyone by the name of Ashraf Al-Khouly.
“For decades, powerful Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while privately acquiescing to Israel’s continued occupation of territory the Palestinians claim as their homeland,” The New York Times article went on to say,
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been long-going, taking the center of Arab politics since the announcement of the state of Israel in 1948. Egypt has fought four wars against Israel, in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973.
However, starting from the Mubarak era, Egypt and Israel have enjoyed a friendlier relationship, despite Egypt’s public position of condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
However, recently, the Egyptian-Israeli relations mildly soured after US President Donald Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, opposing what Egypt has been trying to mediate which is a joint capital between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Egypt initiated a Security Council vote which condemned the US announcement. Although the vast majority of states voted in favor of the resolution, the US used its veto power to block it.