(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 20, 2014) ISTANBUL, TURKEY ✦It was a Sunday, the first day of Advent, en route from Hamilton to my African home, when I toured the Old City here, a place where religions and cultures and empires have collided for centuries. This is when my guide for the day said what he did. I had asked him about some historic notes and holy relics in the Topkapi Palace Museum, items identified as thousands of years old from ancient Israel, but looking dubiously more modern and Ottoman-like, when he told me as plainly as if he was giving the weather report that, "It's all mythology anyway. Whatever you believe is true, that's the truth."
I treat most things said here in Yemen about Jews with skepticism. The latest gem came from a Yemeni colleague ranting, in an unpublished column, about the so-called Jewish conspiracy. He cited the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, purportedly Jewish texts from the late 1800s, describing Jewish plans to enslave the world.