As terror struck New York and Washington, D.C., Jewish activists were still recovering from the ideological bomb of a U.N. conference that lashed out at Israel as racist and apartheid.
On a cool and drizzly night in this Indian Ocean port city, a vast white tent standing in the middle of a cricket field seemed to fit in with the circus atmosphere of the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, one Jewish observer said.
This was no regular circus that had come to town, however, but a viciously anti-Israel, anti-Jewish circus that had carried on all week and was about to reach its apex.
It got so bad on Monday, just halfway through the official governmental conference that began Aug. 31 and ends Sept. 7, that the United States and Israel recalled their delegations.
The U.S. delegation said it would not continue working in such a "racist," anti-Semitic atmosphere.
When the Western-educated Bashar Assad succeeded his father, Hafez Assad, as president of Syria last summer, Israeli officials hoped the changing of the guard from the Lion of Damascus to the Optometrist of Damascus would usher in a gentler approach toward Israel.
Young Assad has lost no time in establishing his bona fides as an Israel-hater, however, greeting Pope John Paul II to Syria this week by resuscitating one of the great anti-Jewish canards: the accusation that Jews killed Jesus.
It's virtually "genealogy for dummies."
In a nation of immigrants where more than 35 percent of the population -- or 100 million Americans -- have at least one relative who passed through Ellis Island, officials at that historic entry point to New York have unveiled a new Web site that will enable even the least tech-savvy to mine a mother lode of information on their families' roots.