Hummus Becomes the Latest Target of Israel’s Enemies

Such is the nature of hostility toward the Jewish state that referring to such culinary staples as hummus, falafel, and shakshuka as “Israeli food” is considered a grievous afront to Palestinian dignity—not on Iranian propaganda networks, but in polite discourse in America. Gilead Ini writes:

A few years ago, for example, after the television food-show host Rachael Ray wrote about her “Israeli nite” dinner of hummus, eggplant, and other Middle Eastern dips, pollster James Zogby responded on Twitter with hashtags of fury: “Damn it. . . . This is cultural #genocide. It’s not #Israeli food.” Likewise, in 2017, when [the comedian] Conan O’Brien made the mistake of describing shakshuka as “Israeli,” he was accosted on camera by anti-Israel activists who insisted that the eggs-and-tomato dish is really Palestinian. (It isn’t. As the Libyan food writer Sara Elmusrati has explained, Sephardi Jews brought the dish from its original home in North Africa to Israel, where it’s been “showcased in a way it has never been in the Maghreb states.”)

The denial and erasure, [in fact], tend to go in the opposite direction. The delegitimization of Israeli food is a predictable outgrowth of a broader campaign to denigrate Israel itself and to deny the culture and humanity of its Jewish citizens. We can look to campus for some typical examples: “The only Israeli food that they eat is the blood of the Palestinian people,” wrote a Kent State student who later headed the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. . . . Similar slurs come from higher up the ivory tower. “Israeli food, you Zionist occupiers and thieves? It [is] as Israeli as apple pie is Arabic,” mused the California State professor Asad Abukhalil.

And this bring Ini to another absurdity in this line of reasoning:

Throughout the multiethnic Middle East, Jews ate and made hummus for as long as anyone has. If you search for the world’s earliest known published hummus recipe, for example, you’d find it in 13th-century Egypt. There, you’d also find a prominent demographic minority of Jews—the ancestors of so many Egyptian Jews who took the short voyage east to Israel.

[Moreover], for centuries after the Roman victory, Jewish communities thrived in and around northern Israel. Today, we can still find the remains of their towns and synagogues. Arab villagers who subsequently resettled one of those Jewish towns named their new village Yehudiya, a reference to the Jews who, they fully understood, preceded them. . . . In the 10th century, for example, an Arab geographer wrote of their flourishing in Jerusalem—“Everywhere the Christians and the Jews have the upper hand”—working as tanners and dyers and moneychangers.

In the subsequent millennium, although the Jewish population of the Land and Israel waxed and waned, it never disappeared. Surely some of those Jews occasionally enjoyed a bowl of hummus.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Zionism, Jewish food, Ottoman Palestine

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy