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The Culture Gap

By Yisrael Medad
10/30/2007, 12:00 AM

May I introduce to you Mr. Tyler Brule (that's a circumflexed u and an acute e for you French speakers who need the diacritic marks, although his father never used them).  He's a Canadian in Europe and a homosexual, two things that have nothing to do with this column.  In his past as a reporter, he spent time with the Arafats in their Tunisian compound (before an Israeli Prime Minister, a Foreign Minister and one poodle all thought it would be a great idea to bring them from their compound to close proximity to Israel) and survived an ambush in Kabul where he was shot twice, he claims.  He thinks that media and design are inextricably linked and that it's pedantic (his words) to attempt to keep the two apart.

That's him above.

Tyler has an urban environment column every Saturday in the International Herald Tribune. And how do I know that?  Well, I spotted this ad below:

You only have to take about 30 seconds to notice that neither Jerusalem nor Tel Aviv are in that ad.  No culture there is the only assumption.  Tyler (sorry but I prefer his first name rather than a family name I don't know how to pronounce) has designed his purview of culture so that Israel and its cities are not linked to anything.  Tripoli, though, where the Arafatian compound used to be, is included.  There is a nothingness between Cairo and Dubai.  Once again, Israel is wiped off the map but this time, the prestigious Int'l Herald Tribune has a hand in it.

What am I and you, my readers, to deduce from this?  An error?  A typo?  Or, perhaps, there's a grand design at work.  A few days ago, Roger Cohen published in the IHT a piece on the Bamiyan Buddhas.  You remember those: the rock-carved statues that the Talibans dynamited in Afghanistan.  And he even referred to the destroyers as Islamic fanatics.  But does the IHT have anything special about some other Islamic fanatics who are destroying another religious site called the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (that city that even isn't included in the ad about culture)?  Is there a Jewish culture besides Halle Berry's joke about noses, not to forget Sarah Silverman's joke about Amy Winehouse's nose ( At the VMA this year, she declared that Winehouse is Jewish - and she is - and "if she isn't, then someone needs to tell her face" and, pointing at her own prominent nose, Silverman shouted, "she's got one of these".)

Is anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment based on politics moving on over into the culture sphere of downright Judeaphobia?  Are too many Jews lending a hand?  Is George W. Bush the only one truly concerned about the Iranian threat to obliterate Israel?

There's a gap developing more rapidly than we can grasp and there's a lot of work to be down before we fall into it.  It's a culture gap, a political gap and a psychological one.  It's no use moaning or ignoring or assuming that aloneness is an okay reality.