Question: What does Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yassir Arafat eat on his breakfast cereal?
Answer: Utah honey.That's thanks to the unwitting accomplice role played by Gov. Norm Bangerter's office that made good on a scheme by Omar Kader, a former Utahn and BYU professor now living in suburban Washington who is active in Palestinian causes.
Just think - Utah honey on corn flakes (topped off with tea instead of milk) - the breakfast of avowed former terrorists.
The whole Utah connection began when Kader read in "Vanity Fair" that Arafat eats honey regularly because he feels it is good for his health and even puts spoonfuls of it on his morning corn flakes instead of sugar.
"When I read that, I thought he ought to taste the best honey in the world - Utah honey. That way he would know the difference between just honey and honey," Kader said, smiling.
Then when Kader planned a recent business trip through the Middle East, he decided to seek out Arafat for some academic research he is doing. He also made a beeline to the phone to ask Bangerter's office to help him obtain some Utah honey.
"I called (chief of staff) Bud Scruggs," who Kader knew when he worked at Brigham Young University with the Young Democrats club, of which Scruggs was then president. Scruggs later converted to Republicanism.
"I told him I wanted to promote Utah honey on my upcoming trip, but I didn't tell him with whom or where," Kader said. "They sent some out to me, and it arrived the day before I left. No one can say this governor's office doesn't like to promote Utah honey."
When Scruggs was told by the Deseret News where that honey went, he said, "I feel the same way that (Utah rocket fuel maker) PEPCON must have felt when their product ended up in the hands of the Iranians.
"I'm surprised to hear it went to Arafat, and I guess I have to rely on the word of Omar Kader that it will be used only for humanitarian relief," Scruggs joked. "Any help that a Utah product can give to sweeten up Yassir Arafat is a step in the right direction."
Kader caught up with Arafat in Tunisia, and presented him with the Miller honey packaged in a plastic honey bear and a plastic beehive.
"I told him to come to Utah and get a good supply of honey if he wants the best in the world. I said Utah would be good for his health too, like the honey, because it has a good climate and friendly people. I told him if peace is possible, he would find it in Utah," Kader said.
"Everyone was smiling and laughing," Kader added. "My Arab friends always know two things about me: that I am a Mormon from Utah and that my family comes from a little village near Jerusalem called Shaufat. They always kid me about both, so this was my idea of a practical joke."
But Arafat said that if he ever gets a visa to the United States, he wants to visit Utah.
Kader said, "Seriously, I love promoting Utah. I tell my Arab friends that they would love it there."