So, what can a country do when its tourist industry is eclipsed by terrorism? The answer, it seems, is to market terrorism to tourists. In perhaps one of the strangest twists of Middle East politics, terrorism is being used to lure visitors back to Israel. Our itinerarywhich promised participants such highlights as an “observation of a security trial of Hamas terrorists” and briefings on “the realities of Israel’s policy of targeted killings” – was not, at first glance, for the casual visitor. But in a way, it was. Israel has a long tradition of combining tourism and lobbying. Most famously, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave a helicopter tour to George W. Bush during his 1998 trip to Israel while Bush was still governor of Texas. The two hit it off, and the visit is widely credited with reinforcing Bush’s sympathy for Israel’s security situation.
An Israeli terrorism tour