John Sheehan, S.J. (Jesuit priest)
Of course, before Israel, (pre 1948) the Middle East was mostly divided up between British and French colonialist mandates and puppet governments, so of course the United States wouldn’t worry about hostile governments.
The commentary:Alright Harvard Business School, let’s have a word or two.
I understand that you like to “change” things in your dining room every once in a while to tickle the palate of the HBS kids who have a tendency to grow blasé rather quickly of your stationary Italian, Asian, & Micronesian stations, so you feel the need to spice it up with an occasional exotic nationality… but this, THIS, is where we draw the line. Israeli food station? Hold your breath.
1. Harissa (هريسة) is a Tunisian and Libyan hot chili sauce whose main ingredient is piri piri. Piri piri grows in the wild in Africa. —> Since Israel is not in Africa, Harissa is not Israeli.
2. Couscous (كسكس) is a Maghrebian dish, a staple food throughout Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. Not Israeli. As for “Israeli couscous”, the real name is “Maftoul” (مفتول), which is a Palestinian dish of Couscous.
3. Fattūsh (فتوش) is a word made of Arabic fatt “crush” and the suffix of Turkic origin -ūsh. Coining words this way was common in Syrian Arabic as well as in other dialects of Arabic. —> Unless Israel’s main language is Arabic, this too is NOT Israeli.
4. Halloumi (χαλούμι) is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk. It’s not even ARABIC. So seriously, your “fuck-you” is not even centered around Arabs, it’s going west. —> Until Cyprus becomes another conquered Israeli territory, Halloumi is considered NOT Israeli.
5. Hummus (حُمُّص): Let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all. Hummus is an Arabic word meaning “chickpeas.” Ok? It is an Arabic word. As far as “Israelis” are concerned, they don’t speak Arabic. So unless you change your primary language, you have no argument here. The earliest documented recipe for something similar to modern hummus dates to 13th Century (CE) Egypt. —> Since Israel was created in 1948, Israel is NOT 13th CENTURY EGYPT! And Hummus is therefore NOT ISRAELI.
6. Tahini (طحينه): ONE: Tahini is a loanword from Arabic: طحينة, or more accurately ṭaḥīnīa طحينية, and is derived from the root ط ح ن Ṭ-Ḥ-N which as a verb طحن ṭaḥan which means “to grind.” TWO: You can only make Hummus with Tahini, since it is the second main ingredient. —> As per the argument of Hummus, we conclude that Tahini is NOT Israeli.
7. Zaatar (زَعْتَر): Alright. Zaatar is THYME. It is a Middle-Eastern plant. It grows in Palestine and other land areas. Since Israel is modern-day Palestine, then I can see why you would like to make that plant Israeli. And you might be able to get away with it. But get this: Zaatar is an Arabic word. So, to make your argument more solid, why don’t you use a Hebrew word for it? Like “שקר”, which is hebrew for LIE.
8. Mezze (in the title): This word (which refers to a selection of small dishes) comes from the Turkish meze ‘taste, flavour, snack, relish’, borrowed from Persian مزه (maze ‘taste, snack’ < mazīdan ‘to taste’) and/or the Greek version mezés (μεζές). SO TURKISH, PERSIAN and GREEK —> NOT ISRAELI.
9. “Sweet & Sour”: This draws the f*ckin limit. Now this sure isn’t Arabic, but I would like to see Chinatown respond to this.
Dear HBS, that “Israeli Mezze Station” is the ultimate multicultural, multireligious fuck-you in the face of ALL Arabs at once from North Africa to the Levant… (while engaging a small spit on the Cypriots)… NINE counts.
If you insist on giving no honor to the Arabs (many of whom are Harvard students/alumni- “hi!”), and/or if you insist on never ever speaking of Arabs in culinary worth (since we’re only ever referred to as warmongers and terrorists), at least have the decency of calling it MEDITERRANEAN MEZZE STATION.
Israel already has a hard time keeping face in the Arab world for the way it has “appropriated” its lands since 1948, don’t make it worse for them by having them appropriate other peoples’ foods as well.
“Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party is an Islamic fundamentalist and/or has ties to the Chinese government. We will rectify the nationality of your dish accordingly.
(Picture taken by my dear friend/Harvard classmate “Mohamed El Dahshan” two days ago in the Harvard Business School Dining Room)
- Sara El-Yafi
I’m not speaking for other Arab countries, but Israelis/Jews come from many countries - including North-Africa (which some of those dishes like couscous or harissa are from). So the Maghrebi Jews who emigrated there obviously took some of the North-African cultures with them which is perfectly normal as it’s as much their culture as any other North-African.
So, I personally have no problem with those North-African dishes being called “Israeli” in that case. It’s not appropriation as the native people from those regions brought it into Israel.
The majority of Israelis are either of Mizrahi (Jews who had lived in North Africa and the Middle East for the past several centuries) or of mixed Mizrahi descent. Israeli cuisine tends to reflect that.
Kaveh Golestan, an Iranian photojournalist who gained international acclaim for documenting the aftermath of the Saddam Hussein’s poison gas attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja, which resulted in approximately 5,000 civilian deaths and 10,000 casualties.
On Alice Walker’s decision regarding the publication of her book in Israel
I disagree with her decision because I don’t understand what the principle behind her decision is. If her book was printed in Israel, it would have allowed her to get her message across to the Israelis. Why did she have to refuse that ? Once I read an article about Edward Said and it said that he wrote back to Zionism and presented to the Israelis a counter-narrative and the Palestinian perspective and experience of Zionism. Would Said refuse to have his work published in Israel? No. His entire career was about engaging with Zionism, mainly through literature. It’s in this tradition of the great Edward Said that Alice Walker should have published her book in Israel. Said was Palestinian and he never refused and turned down a chance to talk or write to the occupier. One can’t be more catholic than the Pope - Alice Walker’s stance on Israel in this case is absurd.
There are other occasions where I have disagreed with her. First, I don’t think that Israel should be compared to Apartheid South Africa because White South Africa was actually a lot worse than Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Above all, Palestine is a case on it’s own therefore I don’t understand why it should be compared to other atrocities in order to attract attention to it. The Palestinian suffering stands out on its own and it doesn’t have to be compared to anything else, otherwise it just discredits and compromises the Palestinian cause. I also don’t agree with her when she says that a two-state solution is not possible because Israel won’t allow it, therefore there has to be a single state. As if Israel is going to allow that.
- Jahanzeb Hussain
When Palestinians launch rockets out of Gaza that may fall in civilian areas in Israel, that’s terrorism—but when Israeli airstrikes actually kill droves of innocents in Gaza that’s a misfortunate ‘accident’.
We already know that, what’s new (but not surprising) is that when Palestinians target Israeli soldiers that’s still terrorism even though Israel tragetting Palestinian ‘militants’ is as right and normal and legitimate as can be.
Explain this to me. Please.
Accident is the key word. People who defend Israeli airstrikes believe that civilians aren’t targeted and so it isn’t terrorism. Whereas when Hamas and Islamic Jihad sends rockets into areas in which there are only civilians, they must be targeting civilians (and in fact they don’t deny it) and so it is terrorism.
Targeting civilians is always terrorism. If Israeli airstrikes actually do target civilians and not just militants, then that is state terrorism. If they don’t target civilians but civilians are killed anyways, that is not terrorism, but neither is it merely an unfortunate accident. Just because it isn’t terrorism, it doesn’t meant that civilian deaths are so easily excused.