Monday, August 01, 2005

Anybody fancy a holiday in Egypt? Think again

Egypt is a very popular tourist destination for Brits. In fact many British Jews go there in preference to Israel as they regard it as cheaper and safer. This is even true of places like Taba - a stone's throw from Eilat - despite the fact that 34 tourists were killed there in a terrorist attack in October 2004. What most people seem completely oblivious to is the depth of hatred the Egyptians have for Jews and Israelis, irrespective of the peace treaty in place between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians, for example, have always been the leading sellers of the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" - they even screened a 20-week series on prime TV based on it recently. And it was the Egyptians who most vehemently promoted the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind Sept 11th - a view now believed by 90% of all Arabs worldwide and even 40% of all Muslims in the UK. But even I was shocked when I saw a report by Tim Marshall on Sky News. Marshall is Sky's top foreign affairs correspondent who is certainly no friend of Israel. But a few days after the 7 July London bombings he was in Egypt reporting on the reaction there to the bombings. What he found (and he was clearly shocked by it) was that from the lowest street cleaner to the highest echelons of government, the view of every Egyptian he met was that the London attacks had been carried out by the Israelis. When he interviewed on screen a supposed leading 'moderate commentator' this 'moderate' tried to physically manhandle Marshall when he dared to ask what evidence the Egyptians had for claiming the Israelis did it.
It was therefore not a great surprise when, a few days later after the 23 July terrorist attacks in Sharm-el-Sheikh, no less than the Egyptian Head of Police pronounced that these attacks too were the work of the Israelis. Reporters on the ground also learned that all Egyptians at Sharm were blaming the Israelis. It just so happens that much fewer Israelis venture down to Sharm these days compared with a few years ago. But there were about 1000 Israelis holidaying in the Sharm area at the time of the attacks. Most were in fact Israeli Arabs. Incredibly, to avoid being lynched, these Israelis had to hide in their hotel rooms and cover up the (Israeli) number plates on their cars.
It's also worth remembering that the song "I Hate Israel" by Haaban Abdel-Rehim topped the Egyptian charts for much of last year. Check out the words here (and here aome other Examples of Arab hate TV)
So, if you are thinking of taking a holiday in Egypt - do us all a favour and wait until the Egyptians stop poisoning their people with anti-Semitic rubbish.

Oh and by the way - if you are thinking about a holiday in Dubai...

..just make sure you remember that much of Al Quaida's funding comes from there as protection money. But this shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who saw BBC's Question Time screened from Dubai during the Iraq war. The locals in the audience made very clear their support for Osama bin Laden ... and of course their view that Israel was to blame for all the world's problems.

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