• Israel’s obsession with hummus is about more than stealing Palestine’s food | The National


    Pep Montserrat for The National

    son travail ici http://pepmontserrat.com/artwork

    When Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages and homes in 1948, many left with little more than the clothes on their back. Food was left on the stove. Crops were left unharvested. But the land emptied of its inhabitants was soon occupied by new residents.

    From 1948 to 1953, almost all new Jewish settlements were established on refugees’ property. The myth of making the desert bloom is belied by the facts: in mid-1949, two-thirds of all land sowed with grain in Israel was Palestinian land. In 1951, “abandoned” land accounted for nearly 95 per cent of all Israel’s olive groves and almost 10,000 acres of vineyards.

    During these early years, many Palestinian refugees attempted to return to their lands. By 1956, as many as 5,000 so-called “infiltrators” had been killed by Israeli armed forces, the vast majority of them looking to return home, recover possessions, or search for loved ones. Palestinian women and children who crossed the frontier to gather crops were murdered.

    The Nakba in 1948 was the settler colonial conquest of land and the displacement of its owners, a dual act of erasure and appropriation. Citing “reasons of state”, Israel’s first premier David Ben-Gurion appointed a Negev Names Committee to remove Arabic names from the map. By 1951, the Jewish National Fund’s “Naming Committee” had “assigned 200 new names”.

    reference page 6 (State Archives; Prewar Archive, C/2613, cited in Benvenisti, 1997:8–9).

    But it did not stop with dynamite and new maps. The Zionist colonisation of Palestine has also included culture, notably cuisine. This is the context for the so-called “hummus wars”: it is not about petty claims and counterclaims, rather, the story is one of colonial, cultural appropriation and resistance to those attempts.

    In the decades since the establishment of the State of Israel on the ruins and ethnically cleansed lands of Palestine, various elements of the indigenous cuisine have been targeted for appropriation: falafel, knafeh, sahlab and, of course, hummus.

    Though these dishes are common to a number of communities across the Mediterranean and Middle East, Israel claims them as its own: falafel is the “national snack”, while hummus, according to Israeli food writer Janna Gur, is “a religion”.

    In a 2002 article on recipes, the Israeli embassy in Washington acknowledged that “Israel lacks a long-standing culinary heritage”, adding that “only a few years ago, Israelis even doubted the existence of their own authentic cuisine”.

    Introduction to Israeli Foods | Jewish Virtual Library

    Such an admission is hard to find these days, as appropriation has become propaganda.

    In 2011, Jerusalem-based chef Michael Katz visited Australia and told a local newspaper how the Israeli government had “decided, through culture, to start improving Israel’s image”.

    “They started sending artists, singers, painters, filmmakers and then the idea came of sending chefs.”

    Israel’s cuisine not always kosher but travelling well

    In 2010, the Israeli government decided to distribute pamphlets at Tel Aviv airport, to equip Israelis who go abroad with, in the words of then-public diplomacy minister Yuli Edelstein, the “tools and tips to help them deal with the attacks on Israel in their conversations with people”. Included in the literature was the claim that “Israel developed the famous cherry tomato.”


    Now, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency put it earlier this year, “Israel has been on the culinary ascent of late, with dozens of food blogs, new high-end restaurants, cooking shows and celebrity chefs, and a fascination with everything foodie”.


    It is not just food that is enlisted in Israel’s global PR initiatives. A few year ago, pro-Israel students at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, held a “hookah night” with the help of campus-based “hasbara fellows”, professional Israel advocates who noted without any irony that “hookah is not specifically an Israeli cultural facet”.

    In addition to smoking and snacks, the “cultural” evening also included belly dancers. Explaining the rationale for the event, a member of the Brandeis Zionist Alliance said they had found that “students are more receptive to Israel-related education when we use a cultural lens”.


    Now we have “International Hummus Day”, launched by an Israeli, Ben Lang, who is explicit about the propaganda value of his project: “The idea was to connect people around hummus and get more people talking about it and hopefully get people to see the good things that are happening in Israel.”

    “I just wanted to make sure that people saw that the initiative started in Israel.”


    As everything from food to the keffiyeh is used to “rebrand” the state that colonised Palestine in the first place, Palestinians and their supporters have fought back.

    When an Israeli choreographer included the dabke traditional dance in his company’s repertoire in 2013,


    a New York-based dabke troupe responded with a thoughtful critique that noted how, by “appropriating dabke, and labelling it Israeli”, the “power imbalance” is only furthered.

    They added: “This makes us feel taken advantage of. Exploited. Commodified.”

    NYC Dabke Dancers respond to ZviDance “Israeli Dabke” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM9-2Vmq524

    In December 2014, after a campaign by Palestinian students and their allies, the student assembly at Wesleyan University in Connecticut agreed to remove Sabra hummus from campus dining facilities. The product symbolises Israeli appropriation and ongoing brutality; its parent company, the Strauss Group, donates to the Israeli military.


    Accusations of cultural appropriation can produce some misleading responses. It’s not about who is “allowed” to eat what, or even about an objection to the natural cross-pollination that occurs in culture through language, cuisine and more.

    That is not the point. It is about the claim of ownership in a context of historic and ongoing violent erasure and displacement.

    It is about efforts to create an artificial history that justifies the establishment and continued existence of a settler colonial state.

    Even a mainstream Israeli food writer like Gil Hovav has pointed to this reality. “Food is about memory and identity,” he told the Israeli media last year. “Claiming ownership over a food is a way to assert a nation’s narrative. Israeli Jews have made hummus their own.”


    Cuisine is where efforts to both deny the existence of Palestine and appropriate its land and heritage meet. It is both an act of theft itself, and a way of justifying that theft.

    Ben White is a journalist and the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide

    On Twitter: @benabyad

    #Palestine #Israel #Appropriation_Culturelle #Cuisine #Houmouss #Propagande #Héritage

    • Ici au Canada, ils ont aussi inventé le « israeli couscous », c’est très énervant ! C’est juste une céréale, une autre céréale, du moyen orient, qui existait bien avant 1948 (on me dit que c’est du Maftoul), mais c’est un outil de propagande très efficace, les gens ne pensant pas faire de la politique en utilisant ce terme...

    • @sinehebdo de plus le terme couscous n’a rien à voir avec la région

      Le couscous est un plat berbère originaire du Maghreb . Il est à base de semoule de blé dur. Les légumes qui composent le couscous varient d’une recette à l’autre.
      Le mot seksu (devenu kuskus, kuskusūn en arabe d’Afrique du Nord, puis couscous en français[1]), existe dans tous les parlers berbères de l’Afrique du Nord et désigne le blé bien modelé et bien roulé [2],[3]. Suivant les régions, le mot a plusieurs prononciations comme kseksu et seksu[4] . Un autre terme qui dérive de la même racine que seksu est le verbe berkukkes, de kukkes « rouler la semoule » et de ber qui signifie « redoubler le travail dans le but d’agrandir les grains »[3]. Le mot taseksut (prononcé en français thasseksouth) est la passoire dans laquelle on fait cuire le couscous.

      Un verbe seksek est utilisé par les Touaregs dans le sens de « passer au crible », rappelant l’usage du tamis dans la préparation[4].



    • La Chakchouka, nouveau plat tendance

      Une origine qui fait débat

      Aux Etats-Unis, la plupart des restaurants israéliens servent de la Chakchouka, et c’est notamment le chef israélien Yotam Ottolenghi qui a fait la réputation de ce plat au Royaume-Uni, d’où un amalgame quant à son origine.

      Ce dernier précise toutefois dans son livre de recettes « Jerusalem » que _ "la Chakchouka est à l’origine un plat tunisien, mais est devenu extrêmement populaire à Jerusalem". _

      Sa provenance exacte fait néanmoins toujours débat, cette spécialité étant également un incontournable des cuisines algérienne, marocaine, égyptienne et libyenne.

      Dans un autre article du site Buzzfeed, la Chakchouka est citée en tant qu’une des « 13 spécialités gastronomiques qui ne sont pas israéliennes », dénonçant une « colonisation » culinaire et soulignant que « l’appropriation culturelle est pour le moins inappropriée ».

      Essayez (à vos risques et périls) de dire à un Tunisien que la Chakchouka est un plat israélien ou américain !

      #Chakchouka #Tunisie

    • Après lecture je ne comprend toujours pas ce qu’est Le #Shawarma israélien. On peut résumer l’article ainsi : Le Shawarma fait son retour, des restaurants turcs et grecs le font très bien, des restaurants « israéliens » aussi => Le Shawarma Israélien est donc celui fait par des Israéliens descendants des colons Juifs ? (en admétant que les turcs et grecs des restaurants de telaviv sont aussi des citoyens israéliens)

      ici l’article

      The end-of-year summaries are over, and in any case this column doesn’t usually make them – we’d rather eat instead – but if there was one pleasing mini-trend that is worth noting, it’s the ostensible return of shawarma. If in the middle of the last decade, Tel Aviv was full of dozens of shawarma joints, most of which closed pretty quickly, fans of this popular delicacy, frequently called the “queen of the street food,” have lately encountered some new eateries that are making successful attempts to return the dish to its glory days. These include the Mutfak and Babacim Turkish restaurants, and the quasi-Greek Pitos.

      This is all good. In fact it’s very good – but it’s not enough. If it’s to be a true revival we need to talk about what is called “Israeli” shawarma. True shawarma connoisseurs tend to wrinkle their noses when confronted with a skewer of turkey meat, but even they will have to admit that during a time of distress or mere craving, this is the (relatively) lightest, most available and popular solution. Two new places have given us the opportunity to examine the possibility of a shawarma comeback.

      Welcome minimalism

      Mifgash Habracha (65 Hakishon St., Tel Aviv) is the type of place that rarely opens in the city anymore, mainly because it looks and acts as if it has been here for at least 20 or 30 years. Who calls themselves by such a name anymore, unless it’s trying to hint at pseudo authenticity? Who makes do with a simple sign, with no “brand,” no website and no Facebook page?

      This welcome minimalism continues inside, with (turkey) shawarma and schnitzel. The shawarma ranges from 34 to 45 shekels ($9.20 to $12.15); the schnitzel sells for 25 to 35 shekels, depending on whether it’s served in a pita, lafa or baguette, or on a plate. And that’s it.

      Shawarma isn’t at all cheap, for its vendors or its consumers, but I’m happy to say that the portions sold at Mifgash go for somewhat less than the average in Tel Aviv. Take an uncharacteristically generous portion of sliced meat (I ordered it in pita, for 34 shekels), and add to it a counter full of pickles, fried eggplant and grilled hot peppers to be sampled freely, plus classic, fresh, oil-drenched (and addictive) french fries – and you get why this place quickly became a hit among the residents and workers in the Florentine neighborhood (including several employees of Haaretz, whose offices are nearby).

      Condiments and salads for shawarmas at Nurman. Eran Laor

      The retro continues with the turkey meat on the rotating spit, which is huge and coarse in texture, with thick pieces sliced off in a manner that is uncharacteristic of our times – not with some cutting robot, not even with an electric slicer, but with a regular knife by the guy at the counter. The result is uneven meat chunks that are far different from the thin shavings we get elsewhere. The use of the wrong spices (whether too weak or too aggressive) or dry spots on the meat can easily ruin such shawarma, but fortunately that doesn’t happen here. This one doesn’t taste much different from any other turkey shawarma, but one does recognize the cautious use of cumin and turmeric, which makes this shawarma no less tempting, but much less yellowish and phosphorescent.

      Branded design

      A small jump to the center-of-the-center of Tel Aviv and the price for shawarma in pita jumps 10 percent: 38 shekels at Nurman (96 Hahashmonaim St.), whose location under the Gindi Towers left it no alternative but to put on a more sophisticated, modern face. Once – okay, 10 years ago – a place like this would have been called a “high-tech shawarma joint,” but today it is now the standard and it’s places like Mifgash Habracha that are considered a sensation.

      There are two shawarma rotisseries here, with veal/lamb or turkey meat (you can mix them if you like), and a spanking-clean glass case in front of them containing a more than ample selection of toppings: two types of hot pepper (red and green), pickled lemons, pepper spread and the other usual suspects in this genre.

      The turkey shawarma was reasonable. Very thin pieces that were a little less juicy than one might expect (the requisite dome of fat on top was already shrunken when we arrived; while it’s correct to give customers a piece of it if they ask, one must remember that it has a role to play here). The seasoning was the type you find in other places. No complaints, but no special praise here, either.

      The second spit was more successful. The shawarma was dark, soft and juicier – and naturally and understandably less seasoned. I know plenty of people who love meat but still avoid lamb because of its dominant taste that remains long after it’s eaten. That doesn’t happen here, because the lamb mostly takes the form of fat, while the meat itself is decent veal. Forgetting the hummus-tahini option and taking advantage of an unexpected addition of pickled (and sharp) lemon created a portion of shawarma that was relatively original and refreshing.

      In both cases there was nothing sensational. But you know what? We weren’t looking for that. We’d be happy with a few other options like these. If Mifgash Habracha and Nurman survive 2019, we could officially declare that shawarma is back. We hope it won’t ever abandon us again.

    • Avec Cyril Lignac, Israël fait découvrir son patrimoine et sa gastronomie – Le Quotidien du Tourisme

      Ici tout y passe : du humous à la chawarma en passant par les aubergines grillées avec la peau et ce petit goût fumé (baba ghanouch) on notera cette phrase qui me file des urticaire

      Il livre aussi une appétissante recette de houmous avec Caleb, « une recette transmise de génération en génération »…

      et sinon,

      Une année record pour le tourisme en Israël
      A l’occasion des vœux de l’Office national israélien du tourisme (Onit) en France, Lina Haddad, sa directrice, a annoncé les bons chiffres de 2017. Une « année record », avec tous les marchés touristiques en hausse qui ont permis de passer la barre des 3 millions de touristes. En 2017, le pays a accueilli « 3.611.800 touristes, soit 700.000 de plus que l’année précédente ». L’Onit explique cette croissance par trois axes : une nouvelle stratégie marketing, des incentives aux compagnies aériennes et des partenariats avec des OTAs (Expedia et Lastminute). La communication sur des destinations (Jérusalem/Tel-Aviv, Eilat et la mer Rouge, le Néguev) comme sous-marques de la destination principale a porté ses fruits. « Ces campagnes ont déclenché l’envie de partir » explique-t-on à l’Onit. Quant aux subventions aux compagnies aériennes, elles ont facilité l’ouverture de routes (low cost notamment) et l’augmentation des rotations. Le premier marché touristique pour Israël reste les Etats-Unis (778.000 arrivées, +20%). La France se classe troisième (308.600, +7%) derrière la Russie (331.500, +25%). Les recettes touristiques ont dépassé l’an dernier les 20 milliards de shekels (environ 4,79 milliards d’euros). Le tourisme a créé 25.000 nouveaux emplois.