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On Israeli Food Intolerance

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The news of an Israeli Mezze Station in the Harvard Business School cafeteria stuck in the craw of a Lebanese Harvard grad. She posted a protest on her Facebook page claiming that the featured foods couldn’t possibly be Israeli because they are also eaten elsewhere. Couscous is a North African staple, hummus is of Egyptian origin, and so on.

So what’s the point?

If she saw a Tunisian Food Station with couscous and harissa hot sauce, would she fire off an angry missive complaining that this dish is also served in Libya? If the dining hall responded by serving up the same food at a Libyan Station, would she turn around and protest that Harvard had grievously offended Tunisia?

Of course not. There would be no logic to such complaints, just as there is no logic to her protest about the Israeli Mezze Station.

What she really can’t stomach is the mention of a country she has been trained to hate: Israel. That’s okay. She is free to spend the rest of her life wallowing in hatred. It will only give her indigestion.

Personally, I don’t care if she hates Israel, but I do care about the truth. She says Israel isn’t African and warns it not to “appropriate other peoples’ foods.”

Who are you calling “other people”? Don’t you know that Jews lived in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco long before the arrival of Arab colonizers?

Don’t you know that the Israeli population is made up in large part of Jews driven from their ancestral homes in North Africa and the Middle East?

These Jews can no longer feast on couscous in Tunis, but they can do so in Haifa and Jaffa. They can no longer enjoy hummus in Alexandria, but they can do so in Tel Aviv.

The Arabs have already “appropriated” their land and houses and worldly goods. When they try to deprive them of their culture, too, it is long past time to draw the line.

Mark Anspach is a Harvard alumnus and a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist

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