We seem to 'enjoy' reports of negative attitude towards Israelis overseas
Shlomo Papirblat Published: 12.05.06, 23:25
When taking a sideways glance at ourselves - a bit of acrobatics is required
to get the right perspective - we'll notice that there's something somewhat
amusing and sickly about how we take pleasure in cases of negative attitude
towards Israelis overseas.
Looking at the newspapers in the last few weeks provides several such examples
and headlines: A ski resort warned its patrons about a large group of Israelis
about to arrive at the resort; there was an article about an Israeli
backpacker in India who was perceived as a beggar, a swindler said to be doped
and aggressive; or the story about a French guesthouse that refused to take
bookings from Israelis.
Great, they hate us. It's so comforting knowing that the entire world is
against us, just like in the good old days.
Naturally there are no facts or research to corroborate this; however, life
experience has shown that human beings tend to love/hate other peoples for
various reasons, without any rules.
The associative luggage, the source of these sentiments, is usually a private
matter. The misbehavior of one tourist could tarnish the reputation of his
people in a specific area for years to come. Another tourist with a welcoming
demeanor and good manners could create a good reputation in that same place
for just as many years. It's such a human trait.
A short while ago, while in conversation with Samira, a receptionist at a
quiet Parisian hotel near Boulevard Saint Michel, I asked her to rank her
private list of love/hate towards hotel guests of different nationalities. The
young intelligent woman, who is the daughter of Algerian immigrants, didn't
hesitate for a moment.
'Brits drink like pigs'
At the top of her guest hate list were Russian tourists. They are nouveau
rich, loud and they behave as though they are entitled to everything because
of their money. Right on their heels were the English. They drink like pigs
and go wild. The Americans simply made her laugh with their questions that
demonstrated their total ignorance of European history and geography.
The Austrians, according to the receptionist, are cold, miserly and distant
people who do not laugh at a single one of her jokes "that make everyone else
What about us, I couldn't help asking, what about the Israelis? You are really
okay, she said without batting an eyelid. But that's natural. You are
Mediterranean. You are warm, clever and happy, she added. We have a lot of
Israeli tourists staying here, and I like them.
Samira's sampling is not statistically representative, it only represents
Samira, but it doesn't fall short of the case where the guesthouse proprietor
in Provence, who hates Israelis for various reasons we don't care to know
about, or the work of an Indian reporter with a one-sided view of the world
who collects materials and edits them according his worldview rather than
Nonetheless, there seems to be something very appealing in our eyes when
someone in the world thinks horrible things about us and slanders us and
boycotts us, among other things. What does this say about us?
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