03/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dubai Bans Swimsuit Issue Featuring Israeli Model

DUBAI -- Twenty-four hours after denying Israeli tennis pro Shahar Peer a Visa, prohibiting the world's 45th ranked player from participating in the Dubai Tennis Championship, Dubai officials ordered the confiscation of all copies of the 2009 Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit Edition, which featured Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli on its cover.

The 11th hour banning of Ms. Peer provoked little more than a polite stir, as the tournament commenced on Monday without a hitch. The banning of the swimsuit issue, however, provoked howls of outrage among the otherwise self-possessed, highly-competitive supermodel community. In an unprecedented show of support for their colleague, some thirty supermodels showed up at the tennis stadium, provocatively dressed in a concerted attempt to rile the religious sensibilities of Dubai tennis officials.

"Where do these people get off?" asked Tinka Vaughn, a 21 year old SI model with a perpetual air of vague distraction. "Supermodeling is about god-given beauty, period. If you've got the bone structure and the hair and stand over 6 feet, it shouldn't matter where you're from. Modeling at this level transcends politics. I just don't get it. I mean, I dated an Israeli businessman for three weeks six months ago. He even took me to Hebron to meet his parents. They asked a lot of questions, but they were very nice. Though I wasn't crazy about the food and all the yelling around the dinner table. Are all Jewish people like that?" *

"Yes, they are," answered Sultan Ahmed bin Muhammad, a government official. "But you must understand: we are a Muslim country. A beautiful Jewish temptress beckoning vulnerable Arab sheiks from the cover of a glossy magazine - an idealized, Hebraic goddess beyond our wildest dreams and check-books--this is not something we could tolerate. Plus, we didn't want tennis fans thinking we're singling out tennis. We know what this tournament means to Dubai and tennis fans around the world. This sends a clear message to the international community: Dubai doesn't discriminate: we would as soon ban an Israeli model, musician or sports star, as we would the 45th ranked woman's player in the world."

Tennis gadfly Bud Collins applauded the models for taking a stand. "Removing all copies of the swimsuit edition simply because it features an Israeli model is obscene. I'm proud of these girls for taking a stand. If only their tennis counterparts showed half the balls. There was a peep here and a peep here, but trust me, you'd see a bigger outcry if the shower in the men's locker room didn't get hot fast enough. In fairness, I heard that some of the guys refused to relinquish copies of the swimsuit issue they brought into the country. I wouldn't exactly call that sending a strong message, but I guess it's something."

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* Editor's Note: This satiric quote was originally, and satirically, attributed to Hilary Rhoda, an actual SI model. We regret any confusion this might have caused to the chronically literal-minded and terminally humor-challenged.