MidEast Food Battle
By Micah Halpern
Sunday September 8, 2019
I've Been Thinking:
Another battle is being waged in the Middle East. The intensity keeps rising. This battle - is over food.
For years, Arabs have accused Israel of appropriating their food and making it "Israeli". They claim that falafel is not Israeli food, it is Arab food. They claim that humus is not Israeli, it is Arab food. The assertion is that just about any of the foods created by Israeli chefs, is in fact a rip off of Arab food.
Now labeneh, or laben, a goat cheese yogurt is on the proverbial chopping block.
Enemies of Israel say that Zionists should create their own culture, not expropriate it from the Arab culture that surrounds them. They are claiming that appropriating their foods is another example of Israeli occupation. Israelis, they say, are not only stealing Arab land and Arab culture, Israeli is stealing Arab - or Palestinian, food too.
Israeli chefs and Israel's culinary creativity have become world famous. And while many of the dishes borrow from the region, to suggest that Israeli Jews stole the culture is preposterous.
These attackers want Israel to be seen by the world as interlopers, replanted into the Middle East from Europe. But in reality, most Israelis are descendants of Jews from Arab lands - not from Europe.
Part of Israel's culture comes from Europe, but much more of Israeli culture, including food, originates in the Arab world.
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