Egyptians call all Israelis "Jews"

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that the Israeli delegation that flew to Egypt was met with disrespect and contempt.

An Egyptian Television reporter who gave her name as Annette Simeri took the microphone and with a straight face asked: "Is it true that the Israeli government reached an agreement with the American administration based on freezing the situation on the ground until the American elections take place in November, in return for Republican Congressmen getting all of the Jewish support?" The Israeli journalists laughed. The members Israeli delegation chuckled and Ben-Eliezer himself cracked a broad smile. But the Egyptian reporters saw nothing funny about what they considered a very, very serious allegation.

"This is just an illusion. This is the first time that I heard such crazy things," Ben-Eliezer said shaking his head. [...]

The Israelis wanted to know why there is not even one blue and white Israeli flag anywhere on what is supposed to be an official visit by Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Were they all stolen? Is it because they had all been burned in a street protest, as one Egyptian reporter quipped?

In fact, "Israel" and "Israelis" don't even exist there. Except for a polite few, the Egyptian security and journalists all referred to us as "the Jews."

I copy the full article below.





REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Conspiracy theories and Jews in Egypt
The Jerusalem Post, ARIEH O'SULLIVAN, July 16, 2002
Alexandria

Just a 45-minute flight from Ben-Gurion Airport, Alexandria is Egypt's second-largest city.

It's a cleanly-swept Mediterranean pearl of a place with broad avenues and a marvelous boulevard on the seafront. Its mix of colonial-era buildings and simple cement apartments make it look like a once beautiful lady who has matured... awkwardly. Still, at 2,334 years old, she looks good for her age.

On her northern shore is the Ras e-Tin Palace. Faced in white marble with six large solid granite columns at its entrance, it was from here that King Farouk was sent into exile nearly 50 years ago.

The only remnant of his rule is the letter "F," painted and carved throughout the palace's gaudy, gilded halls and mirrored ballrooms.

Today, President Hosni Mubarak uses it to greet foreign dignitaries and it is decked out in its full splendor with plenty of colorful flags snapping in the wind.

A strange thing happens when you get too many journalists inside a flashy palace on a hot summer day in Egypt. Conspiracy theories start to fly.

The Israelis wanted to know why there is not even one blue and white Israeli flag anywhere on what is supposed to be an official visit by Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Were they all stolen? Is it because they had all been burned in a street protest, as one Egyptian reporter quipped? In fact, "Israel" and "Israelis" don't even exist there. Except for a polite few, the Egyptian security and journalists all referred to us as "the Jews." Judging from the security checks we had to go through, they trusted us about as much as our own Shin Bet. You have to be careful with the Jews, you know. They run the world.

And if there was any lingering doubt about their fertile minds it was soon put to rest when the press conference with Ben-Eliezer began.

An Egyptian Television reporter who gave her name as Annette Simeri took the microphone and with a straight face asked: "Is it true that the Israeli government reached an agreement with the American administration based on freezing the situation on the ground until the American elections take place in November, in return for Republican Congressmen getting all of the Jewish support?" The Israeli journalists laughed. The members Israeli delegation chuckled and Ben-Eliezer himself cracked a broad smile. But the Egyptian reporters saw nothing funny about what they considered a very, very serious allegation.

"This is just an illusion. This is the first time that I heard such crazy things," Ben-Eliezer said shaking his head.

Questioning the TV reporter afterwards on the source of such a fantastic story, she just said: "Oh, I read it someplace. Can't remember. A wire service or something." The fact that an apparently professional journalist can take such folly seriously and even venture to query the visiting Israeli defense minister about it is more than just an amusing peek into their minds. It is scary.

Posted by David Melle
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