Monday, June 19, 2017

BBC piece : 'Zionists stole foods from Palestinians'

Travellers to Israel will find it hard to find 'Jewish food', alleges journalist Sarah Treleaven for BBC Travel (article not visible if you are in the UK). That's because the Zionists appropriated 'Palestinian' dishes in order to construct an 'authentic' national narrative! Mizrahim and Sephardim who have been eating these foods for millennia are, not for the first time, invisible in the BBC's world view.

“One of the biggest shocks for many foreign visitors to Israel is the lack of familiar Jewish cuisine. Where are the smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese at breakfast? What about the delis that define Jewish cuisine from Montreal to Los Angeles? Or the kugel (a casserole made from egg noodles or potato), gefilte fish (an appetizer made from poached fish) and matzoh ball soup served at Jewish tables around the world?

“The early Zionists eagerly adopted Palestinian dishes, such as falafel, hummus, and shawarma, while in recent years Israelis have developed a more diversified palate. Still, ‘Jewish food’ remains scarce. But very few visitors know the reasons behind the dearth of it in Israel: despite the fact that the early settlers were mostly Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, they forsook traditional Jewish food both because of scarcity but also in deliberate service to the formation of a new national narrative.”

“Early adherents to the Zionist project, committed to creating a Jewish state in the territory now known as Israel, sought to abandon vestiges of their past. Just as the European settlers favoured Hebrew over Yiddish and khakis over frock coats and homburgs, they also purposefully chose to eat indigenous foods over Ashkenazi ones.

“The adoption of indigenous food lent the early European implants an air of authenticity. The production of local ingredients – the things that grew well in the desert and along the Mediterranean coastline, and the many dishes adapted from Arab kitchens – became part of the Zionist narrative.”

Edward Solomon has given Point of No Return permission to quote his rebuttal: 

"This article is replete with out-and-out lies and falsehoods. Based on Sarah Treleaven's limited and blinkered view of Jewish history and cuisine, Israeli food should consist of lokshen, bagels, gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, kugel, chopped liver and cholent.

The rich and varied panoply of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish foods, such as sabikh, tagine, tbit, kubbah, loubiah, kahi, and countless other dishes of Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Indian, and Iraqi origins documented by writers such as Linda Dangoor and Claudia Roden, cooked and eaten in Israel, are completely glossed over in the interest of presenting a one-sided, politicised narrative that paints the Zionist Jews as Ashkenazic interlopers who stole Palestinian dishes to claim for their own.

This narrative falls down because (a) the majority of Jews in Israel are Sephardi and Mizrahi, not Ashkenazi, and (b) they did not misappropriate Palestinian foods, but brought with them the many and varied cuisines of their homelands, which are enjoyed today throughout the land of Israel.

This article is misleading and shortsighted in its attempt to distort Jewish history and cuisine to suit a distinctly Leftist, anti-Zionist narrative."

BBC Watch

7 comments:

Judy Weleminsky said...

The cultural appropriation charge is part of the comprehensive attack on the legitimacy of Zionism and Israel. Given that the majority of Sephardi Jews came after 48, it would be good to have some evidence of the Jewish contribution to Middle Eastern food generally and specifically re the early cuisine of Zionists in the early part of the 20 century. However it is an example of Jews being dammed whatever they do. Doubtless it made perfect logistical an economic sense to use local produce and cuisine.

Empress Trudy said...

If Israel were at the South Pole the BBC would scream that the Arabs invented ice.

Sylvia said...


One of the biggest shocks for many foreign visitors to Israel is the lack of familiar Jewish cuisine.

This is hilarious!

This sentence alone could be fisked to no end had it been a lonely occurrence of accute eurocentrism. Unfortunately, we are so often plagued with symptoms of this malady it's not funny anymore.

I welcome anyone to familiar Jewish food:dafina, couscous, za'louk, msemmen, beghrir, married sardines, matboukha,pastela, mhammar, etc. etc. all widely available in Israel, none "stolen" from the Palestinians.

Chantale said...

What a joke !!!
Has it occurred to the writer that maybe the Mizrahi and Sephardi
cuisine is also much more healthy as well as tasty than her kugel and
smoked meat or gefilte fish ?
Not too many tourists run to try gefilte fish I bet !

the Sabih for example is part and parcel of the Iraqi Tebitt.
It was cooked by our forefathers in Babylonia after the Jews were exiled earlier than 300 BC
Tebit is cooked with rice chicken and our those famous browned eggs ( Sabih is made with these
brown eggs)

Cholent is cooked with meat and potatoes....,

Smoked meat in a warm country like Israel is way too heavy to digest .

Jews existed in Israel and lived continually in the Middle East such as Egypt , Babylon ,
Morocco , Persia , since the birth of Judaism .

Abraham came from UR ...a city in today s Iraq....the Talmud and most the laws of Judaism
Such a the tephilim , the tsitsit , the talit, the ketuba , the simple burial , even
The Yeshivot were first conceived in Babylon .which happens to be in modern day Iraq.

The Jews from Arab lands have lived continuously there for more than 2000 years till they
Got ethnically cleansed out of all Arab countries , and this is due to the recreation of Israel
they were stripped of everything they owned , property , businesses , schools, hospitals ,
money , dignity ...all they brought with them to Israel was their delicious cuisine ...and now
The writer of this article wants to even take that away from them as well.

is the author of this horridly skewed article that ignorant or is her biased Views
that vilely blinding I ask ?
I am furious at how far people would stoop to influence opinions ! Ignorant as they are !
Yuk .

Anonymous said...

I look forward to Sarah Treleaven's follow-up report detailing how fish and chips is a dish appropriated -- no, stolen by the insidious Brits from a Jewish vendor in London's East End.

Edward Solomon said...

Thank you for sharing my critique. I stand by my comments.

Unknown said...

Some writers, such as Sarah Treleaven, ought to stick to poetry or fiction rather than writing about something they know absolutely nothing about, and make total fools of themselves. This piece is clearly charged with an agenda to delegitimise Israel, and nothing more.