Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hummus, Falafel, and Israeli Colonialism

Elder of Ziyon has the latest in the Lebanese onslaught on Israeli use of and identification with Mideastern foods.

This has been going on for a few weeks now, this Lebanese project of denying Israel's claim to Hummus, falafel, t'china (tahini), taboule and so on. Initially I watched it with a grin. If this is all that's left to fight over, we're in heaven!

As it continues, however, it occurs to me there's a deeper side to the kerfuffle. The reason Israelis love and identify with so many Mideastern foods, beyond the fact that they're good and healthier than fish-n-chips, hamburgers and vodka, is that a large chunk of Israel's Jews have been living in the Mideast these past 3,000 years or so. How many Israelis? Well, what with intermarriage (between Oriental and European Jews) at something like 40% of all marriages, I'm not certain anyone knows anymore, but I'd hazard a guess that about half of all Israeli Jews are at least partly of Mideastern stock.

All that talk of the colonialist Jews who fled the antisemites in Europe and inflicted themselves on the poor Palestinians? Wrong. The newest version, whereby they're now also stealing the Lebanese heritage? Equally wrong.

I dare these Lebanese cooks to prove that Hummus wasn't invented by the Jews of Baghdad centuries before the Arabs arrived in the 7th century. Or that felafel wasn't the favorite food of the large Jewish community in Alexandria (Egypt) about the time when Cleopatra was drinking pearls in her vinegar. (I can't prove they were, but that's the point).


Anonymous said...

The real point is that the Arabs will make up the most ludicrous claims and expect, with good reason, to be taken seriously.
Whether its stealing falafel, training killer pigs, denying the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem or claiming Israel wants to use nukes in Gaza, it is all part of the same culture of lies.

Anonymous said...

A nation built by refugees from the Tsars, the Nazis, Soviet-occupied Europe, and Arab pogroms -and they accuse it of being imperialist.


Avigdor said...

Jefferey Goldberg with Dan Senor, The Origins of Israel's Tech Miracle

This is the second blockbuster interview Goldberg has done this week.