Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 9, 2007 / 19 Teves, 5767

Pity the Travel Writer (Conde Nast Traveler: Tunisia hosted Arafat because it's a 'tolerant' country)

By Julia Gorin


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Imagine the challenges of travel writing today. How tough it must be to entice people to visit regions that are better left unvisited.


Several travel articles recently caught my attention, leading me to wonder whether the travel industry exists in a vacuum, untouched by world affairs. Conde Nast Traveler's August issue had a piece titled "Arabian Nights;" which profiled Abu Dhabi, Syria and Egypt. The highlighted quotes read:


"The Emirates Palace mingles new technology with images out of an Arabian fairy tale"; "Egypt is a living museum for anyone curious about palaces, trade, and travel"; and "'Once there is peace, Syria will be a traveler's paradise,' one hotelier insists." (But for now, there was this caption next to a photo of a market: "Damascus's Hamadiyeh Souk [market] was restored in 2002 to its nineteenth-century Ottoman appearance. The unrepentantly pro-Syrian banner reads: 'A country ruled by Bashar al-Assad must not be treated unjustly.'")


On a tour of the Emirates Palace where the writer — Susan Hack — was staying, the hotel guide points to a wing and says, "The king of Morocco slept here." This sends Hack musing on how "it must be fun, I imagine, to linger as a guest of the royal family and actually meet some U.A.E. nationals — say, at a females-only wedding party in what is the Middle East's largest ballroom ('Gulf ladies wear very sexy outfits under those black things,' my guide whispers)."


Another Hack piece, this one promoting Tunisia, graces the cover of the January issue. The writer, who lives in Cairo for some reason, recalls her 1987 trip to the country, during which her husband returned to their Tunis hotel one night "saying that a tout had pursued him into the medina, threatening, 'Mister, if you don't come to my uncle's carpet shop, I will kill you.' Two decades later, I am surprised at the reversals and seduced by the infinitely more welcoming mood."


I suppose everything is relative. A highlighted quote reads: "Even for a non-Muslim traveler, Tunisia is refreshing. Islam here defines itself less by rules of separation than by a spirit of neighborliness." Hack describes her room in Old Tunis as "a meditation on past and present, tradition and modernity...The message G-D IS THE STRONGEST is carved in endless Arabic calligraphy into the white stucco molding, countering the Wi-Fi content streaming invisibly from the secular world."


She also offers a benign spin on the widespread international trend of younger generations regressing into an Islamic traditionalism beyond anything their parents had exposed them to: Old Tunis strikes her as "an Islamic version of Manhattan's SoHo. Actors, journalists, professors, and restaurateurs — part of a new generation eager to rediscover and reinterpret their grandparents' lifestyle — are restoring old houses and taking up residence alongside shoe and felt-hat makers and other traditional artisans."


Then she explains Tunisia to whatever ignoramus American readership the magazine may have: "Tunisia is the Norh African country that Americans hear about least. Tunisia has never engaged in a war with its neighbors [and] experiences little civil unrest (the 2002 terrorist attack on the Ghriba synagogue, on the island of Jerba, being the major exception)."


But Jew-killing in the Middle East is par for the course, so Hack moves on: "...Tunisia proudly casts itself as the Arab world's most tolerant and progressive nation," adding that it's North Africa's "most prosperous and pro-Western nation." In 1987, she "had traveled to the capital to meet Yasser Arafat, since Tunisia, being a tolerant country, was then the headquarters-in-exile of the Palestine Liberation Organization."


Hack buys a ticket for a multimedia English-language presentation that includes a history of Islam and is titled "The Tunisian Experience...[where] there is no contradiction between Islam and modernity." She is joined by three young Tunisian women and a French couple, "happy to learn more about Islamic culture."


"For where to stay, eat, and shop, and how best to tour North Africa's smallest and most moderate country, turn to page 212," reads a caption. And it's not wrong: Whereas Algerians account for 20 percent of suicide car bombers in Iraq, Tunisians and Moroccans together account for only five percent. But Tunisians did join Yemenese, Algerian, Egyptian and Afghani mujahideen in swarming Bosnia in the 90s to assist in that jihad, and today Tunisians are among the extremists who, Albanian intelligence reports, are piling into Kosovo. In a 2005 raid on homes and internet cafes in and around Paris investigating planned attacks, most of 20 young men detained were of Tunisian and Moroccan origin, the AFP reported — the same nationalities involved in the 2005 French riots. And, of course, there was the Tunisian ringleader of the Madrid bombers, Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet.


But in a reprisal of the Tunisian "tolerance" that Hack applauds, President Zineel-Abidine Ben Ali sent a team of Tunisian doctors to minister to the ailing Arafat in 2004. That Tunisian tolerance, however, didn't keep the country from barring sales of the French paper Soir when it reprinted some of the Mohammed cartoons.


The current issue of Outside Traveler also gives it the college try — in an article about Jordan titled "The Kingdom of Peace and Plenty." A subhead reads "Stunning Red Rock Deserts. The Lost City of Petra. And Marine Life that will Knock Your Fins Off. Welcome to Jordan, a Safe Oasis in the Troubled Middle East."


Here the writer's approach is a little more honest than Conde Nast's, opening with "The M42 armored anti-aircraft vehicle in front of me has seen better days," and including gems like "Despite being the falafel in a security-nightmare pita, Jordan itself is peaceful;" and "while the idea of a holiday in this part of the world may at first sound like playing a game of Hacky Sack with a hand grenade…a trip here is far less explosive than your might think."


But then writer Ed Douglas slides into duty mode: "Since I discovered Jordan a few years ago, I've been itching to return as often as I can…And it happens to be an outstanding destination for adventurous travelers, with hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding in some of the finest and most expansive desert scenery on the planet."


"Adventurous" is certainly the word. If the November 2005 triple hotel bombings in Amman were any indication, add to the list of mountain biking and horseback riding: shrapnel-ducking.


One surprising factoid from Hack's first article was contained in a subhead that read, "Travel to the Middle East is rising eighteen percent a year — fueling a resurgence in the palace-style hotels that first pampered kings, aristocrats, and early package tourists more than a century ago….both hospitality and the hotel as we know it have their roots in the troubled region."


We hear much about that Arabian "hospitality," and as people continue to rhapsodize about this legendary hospitality, one starts to wonder if they're not actually talking about hospitals, since that's where too many visitors to the Middle East end up. Recall one of Hack's destinations — Egypt — in 2005, when the resort town Sharm-el-Sheikh suffered three explosions, killing 65 people and injuring 200 just a couple weeks after the London Tube explosions. A fair percentage of the victims were Brits who were "on holiday" to escape and recover from the trauma of the London bombings. The most confounding question that faced investigators at Sharm-el-Sheikh: Why the heck are Westerners vacationing in the Middle East? Isn't that like a Jew vacationing in Hamburg during World War II? (The Germans weren't all like that.)


One tries to imagine a Brit's thought process leading to this choice of destination: "Dahling, let us get away from this madness! Let us find some place peaceful and relaxing. How about the Middle East?"


That must have been the thinking of the two British women, the Dutchman, the Australian woman and the New Zealand woman who were injured in September when a gunman opened fire on Western tourists at some Roman ruins in a district of Amman, Jordan that's populated by observant Muslims, killing a 30 year-old British man. The shooter was a Palestinian-Jordanian from a village near the Jordanian extremist hub "Zarqa", hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


Fellow Westerners, Mountain doesn't have to come to Muhammad. Muhammad has already come to Mountain. You can get the Middle East experience in your own backyard.


But the Muslim countries see us going to the Middle East and sure enough, I'm seeing ads promoting Turkey and Dubai as destination choices. One billboard read, "Come to Dubai. We speak 60 different languages on our planes. Just like being in New York."


You see what's happening? The terrorists are getting lazy. Now that it's harder to get into our countries to kill Westerners, they want us to buy a ticket to go get killed. (Though I couldn't find a disclaimer or special instructions for people whose passports bear an Israeli stamp — that is, for Jews, who generally aren't allowed into Muslim countries, so I wasn't sure if the ad was meant for me.)


On the other hand, perhaps the 18 percent annual increase in travel to the Middle East — which includes "foreigners curious about Islamic culture in the wake of 9/11" — represents practical-minded folks. Subconsciously or not, Western dhimmis are clearly planning ahead, trying to familiarize themselves with the culture they'll soon have to adopt as their own.


Dubai is actually helping dhimmis on this front, with brainwashing tours for Westerners. A recent AP headline read "Dubai tours offer positive view of Islam," and explained that Dubai's leader, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, "is funding mosque tours for Western visitors that aim to clear up misconceptions about Islam, especially that the religion condones violence...The hope is that tourists can spread understanding of Muslims in their home countries...It has budgeted $2.7 million for a multimedia center devoted to Islam and Arab culture at the mosque...On a recent Sunday, about 100 Western tourists reclined on perfumed carpet under the soaring dome of the Jumeirah Mosque to listen to [a guide] describe the beliefs of 1.5 billion Muslims, with references to common themes in Judaism and Christianity."


Included is a how-to demonstration: the guide "demonstrated Muslim prayer technique: standing, bowing, kneeling, sitting and then pressing his forehead to the carpet. Then he revealed the contents of his prayers. Standing, he cleared his mind of anything related to work. Kneeling he recited a bit of the Quran. Prostrate, he whispered 'glory to God in the highest.' And sitting he prayed for his parents...The [Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding] has managed to turn its Ramadan fast-breaking dinners into a vogue event for Western diplomats and dignitaries."


These visitors to the Emirates are very scrappy to be learning the ropes of how their own countries will soon operate. Speaking of which, the subject of an October Continental Magazine piece was London, specifically the city's ethnic markets. Amy Syracuse writes, "I've learned that the real London is less about antiquity and more about diversity, staking its claim as not just the capital of England, but arguably, the capital of Europe — if not the world."


Of course, we know that what London is, is the capital of Eurabia, and of a country where the name Mohammed has overtaken George in popularity, according to the UK Telegraph, which "reflect[s] the diverse ethnic mix of the population." The Western publishing dhimmis put on their plastic PC smiles and push London for its "ethnic diversity" rather than its history, now called "antiquity."


Syracuse mentions that in 1997 the area where the city's financial district is, Brick Lane, "was officially named 'Banglatown' by local authorities in honor of its many residents from Bangladesh. At that time, almost seven in 10 residents were of Bangladeshi origin."


After exploring the Brick Lane Market, Syracuse moves on to Upton Park, "home to Queen's Market, which is said to feature London's most ethnically diverse shopping…The first thing I notice is the cacophony of sounds: babies crying, vendors hawking their deal of the day, and chatter in many languages coming from all directions. Small grocery shops and halal butchers line the perimeter, prominently displaying chicken carcasses, cows' feet, and miscellaneous organs in their front windows."


Syracuse quotes Mark Jones, from Friends of Queen's Market, which campaigns against the site's redevelopment: "There may be more beautiful markets in the world, 'but nothing has its finger on the pulse of humanity like London's markets do.'"


As usual, it appears the term "diversity" is more or less a euphemism for "Muslims." And not only is the takeover by "diversity" a good thing, but the rest of the world should get with the program. Indeed, if London's ethnic markets have their finger on the pulse of humanity, it looks like that finger is pointing toward a caliphate.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a widely published op-ed writer and comedian who blogs at www.JuliaGorin.com. Comment on by clicking here.

Julia Gorin Archives

© 2005, Julia Gorin.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles