One of the staples of misinformed 'Israel can do no wrong' commentators is a myth that has been used to smear one of the great peacemakers of the region, Yasser Arafat. This is the oft repeated claim that Yasser Arafat was unattractive or even ugly. By ugly I mean physically unappealing.
In fact Yasser Arafat's striking looks were a source of tremendous pride to the Palestinians and conversely envy by the Israelis. In 1974 when I was working ITN General Rabin told me: "Alan, you're a legendary journalist and an inspiration to writers everywhere. Because you've explained that you couldn't possibly be anti semitic because you had a jewish taxi driver take you to the Airport I'm going to let you in on a secret, Arafat handsome face is making our propaganda work ten times harder so we have decided to spread rumours that he is in fact uglier than a Rottweiler's arse".
This was perplexing how could anyone be convinced that Yasser's tender smile and twinkling eyes that could make a grown journalists knees tremble were repellant? How could Zionists convince people that the face that launched a 1000 mortars was something to be ashamed of? The answer was that the Zionist lobby in the USA could easily suppress the TRUTH, so only a few honest journalists like me could give it to you straight.
Some years later when I told Yasser Arafat why he was no longer appearing on the front cover of Vogue he took it with great courage, "Alan, lick me" he said "Run your tongue over my nose, into my ears, taste the salt of my tears". After several minutes I asked him if I could stop now, he smiled and nodded. He did not have to say anything, the sweet aftertaste was devoid of any bitterness, his point was made.