Tariq Ramadan, best described as an independent power center in the global Muslim Brotherhood, has written a carefully worded letter to the director and president of the Turin International Book Fair which plans to invite Israel as a guest of honor to the fair. Ramadan opens the letter by joining the Brotherhood’s global campaign against Israeli actions in Gaza:
It is very difficult to follow you when you say, while celebrating Israel the very year of its 6oth anniversary, that Inviting Israel means to invite its writers, scientists, musicians, artists, film directors: nothing else. Nothing else? You both know as I know the symbolic dimension of this invitation: you are celebrating a State, and by extension in this very occasion, a government which will be representing the State. This is where we deeply disagree: to choose the State of Israel while you know what was, and still is, happening in the occupied territories – and just after the international community, almost unanimously, condemned the Gaza’s blockage – is neither wise nor fair towards the Palestinian and their dignity. I am sorry to repeat, you took a wrong and an unwise decision.
Ramadan has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and in the letter, he is careful to address this issue while, at the same time, taking a jab at “blind supporters of Israel”:
We deeply disagree on the meaning of this celebration. You seem to minimise its effect and at the same time you give the floor to some blind supporters of Israel to confuse any kinds of criticisms towards Israel with anti-Semitism. This is very counterproductive and you may ask yourself which kind of responsibility your decision has, and will have, on that. I will fight any kind of anti-Semitism and racism but I want to be among those you are standing up against occupation, oppression and injustice. You had other ways to open intellectual and critical debates on this topic: I am afraid you chose the worst one and I cannot follow and even accept the rational of your letter.
Ramadan himself is an extremely important figure within the Global Muslim Brotherhood network, perhaps best described as an independent power base with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders.