Thursday, February 03, 2011

Egyptian Gov't Calling Western Journalists "Israeli Spies"

So, uh, Bibi? How's that "hey, at least the Egyptian dictators are pro-Israel" thing working out for you?

In any case, this is disgusting.

The conventional wisdom goes, when it’s too dangerous to film on the streets, you can always do an interview with someone inside a building.

Not in Alexandria you can’t. Not today.

We had arranged to interview a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in his apartment, but the neighbours – sitting by the door on the street, snarled like guard dogs when we arrived. They didn’t want foreigners inside their building, they said, and saw us off.

We retreated down the street to our car. A group of young men approached, armed with baseball bats, sticks and machetes. They were the neighbourhood Popular Committee.

For the past few days, these groups have been smiling and friendly to us but this lot started shouting and banging on the roof of our car. They demanded to see our passports.

I think I know why. Last night and today, Egyptian state TV had been broadcasting of Israeli spies disguised as western journalists roaming the country.

It’s a wicked rumour to spread because it puts any westerner – or any Egyptian working with westerners – at risk of a beating or worse. It’s cynical to say the least.

This government did a deal with Israel, but it still stirs up anti-Zionist feelings when it suits and that’s one reason so many journalists have been attacked in Cairo today.
I guess rank anti-Semitism is okay after all, just as long as being stirred up by people who suit your state's interests. Good to know.

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