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Food In Israel Divides And Unites As Much As It Shapes Identity

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Food In Israel Divides And Unites As Much As It Shapes Identity

by James M. Dorsey

Food, far more than diplomatic relations with Arab states, could be turning Israel into a state rooted rather than implanted in the Middle East even if Palestinians are likely to continue to look at the Jewish state as an implant and usurper for generations to come.

Israel’s conversion is as much a domestic revolution as Palestinians perceive it to be an extension of the expropriation of their land to the alleged appropriation of the food of a people that is in the majority living under occupation or a blockade or in exile.

To be fair, the appropriation or culinary fusion may have happened irrespective of the occupation. Some 20 percent of the Israeli population is of Palestinian descent, and 44 percent of Israeli Jews identify as Mizrahim or Jews of Eastern, primarily Middle Eastern and North African origin.

Palestinians assert on good grounds that Israeli repackaging of their food is part of a broader effort to minimise if not erase Palestinian national identity. Yet, at the same time, the appropriation argument ignores the fact that Palestinians and Mizrahim share similar culinary traditions.

It also neglects that the notion of a national cuisine is ambiguous at best. “Every nation’s culinary lineage is regionally specific and indelibly influenced by trade, migration, and conquest. … I finally understand that even though national cuisine is a social construct, it can be a useful one,” says Palestinian American cookbook author Reem Kassis.

For Ms. Kassis, the notion of a Palestinian cuisine was a way for the cookbook writer to remain connected to her homeland and give her British and US-born daughters a sense of rootedness. Yet, as she detailed the cuisine of her recent ancestors in her first book, Ms. Kassis realised that if she went further back in history, she would not be able to delineate the precise origins of each dish.

Food historian Alija Lakisic came to a similar conclusion when researching culinary traditions in Bosnia Herzegovina. Quoted by Bosnia-born food scholar Riada Asimovic Akyol, Ms. Lakisic argues that “in the end, one cannot speak of some pure national cuisine … it is very difficult to determine which are the authentic dishes of certain regions and peoples.”

Ms. Kassis’ and Ms. Lakisic’s experience is no less true for Israel’s Mizrahim, who together with Israeli Palestinians constitute a slim majority in Israel. Together, they have increasingly put their cultural stamp on Israel with music and food.

In doing so, they have pushed to the margins cultural expressions of Ashkenazi European Jewish culture that dominated Israel’s early years. It also reflects the coming out of a Mizrahi Jewish culture that was long looked down upon because of its Arab affinity.

Food anthropologist Daniel Monterescu and food entrepreneur Yair Yosefi describe the transition as “the Orientalisation of food (that) prioritises North African and Arab dishes over Ashkenazi cuisine.”

In analyzing the role of excessive spice in Israeli cuisine, Messrs. Monterescu and Yosefi argue that spice has become a “unifying factor that defines a broad social common denominator. Mizrahim who eat spicy food confirm their Mizrahiness, but even Ashkenazis who eat spicy food reaffirm their nativeness.”

In other words, orientalisation constitutes a rebalancing of identity both within the Israeli Jewish community and between Israeli Jews and Palestinians that goes beyond usurpation to some degree of commonality.

It is a far cry from the cookbook writing that exploded in the wake of the 1967 Middle East war in which Israel conquered the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Cookbooks of that era defined Israeli cuisine as having “mainly Jewish and American or European values or practices or ideas in it. They were…creating a new identity and drawing in all the references that they could identify with an Israeli background. That way, they managed to claim that land,” said historian Suna Cagaptay.

Messrs. Monterescu and Yosefi seem to suggest that despite orientalisation, Israeli usurpation of Palestinian food is an ongoing rather than an evolving process. “In the same way that the State of Israel swallows Arab space, Israelis devour what to them symbolises the Arab other. Spice food is a fantasy of imagined indigeneity,” they wrote.

Israel’s more recent focus on spiciness that is absent from Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese cooking and more prevalent in some North African cuisines reflects in their minds “the combustible combination of masculinity, ethnicity, militarism and indigenous authenticity.”

Messrs. Monterescu and Yosefi quote Israeli chef Eitan Vanunu as saying: “There’s a term among (Israeli) chefs: ‘How’s the food?’ ‘It shouts.’ That’s considered a compliment. After all, we lack any cultural mainstays. Muscles are our bread and butter.”

Ultimately the two seemingly opposed views of an Israeli food culture that not only dominates the Jewish state’s culinary scene but also is making waves internationally may be two sides of the same coin: an Israeli gastronomic culture that builds as much on the traditions of a multi-ethnic Jewish population as it does on the usurpation of Palestinian food with which significant segments of Israeli society have a cultural affinity.

In the process, the identity of Israeli Jews becomes one that increasingly is associated with attributes that Mizrahim and Palestinians share rather than European and American cultural practices that offer less opportunity to find common cultural traits.

 

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Jen's whore

It is fair to say that the Mizrahim were part of a culture that included both Christians and Muslims. And all these people at the time were considered Palestinian with a shared culture (food included). But calling the stolen food Israeli or Jewish is far from the truth because it ignores the fact that a large portion of the Jewish Israeli population comes from Europe. That is why it is considered a stolen cuisine and I think this is where the term cultural appropriation can be used. There are plenty of Christians around the world but saying that all of them own Italian cuisine is a false statement. Only Italians (regardless of their religion) can own that cuisine.

S Balu

Jens whore John Hopkins University has proven scientifically and conclusively that zionist in Occupied Palestine are FAKE JEWS AS DO NOT HAVE SEMITIC DNA FURTHER THERE NO CREDIBLE RESEARCH DOCUMENT EXIST TO PROVE IF HOLOCAUST EVER TOOK PLACE AUTHOR JAMES DORSEY IS A zionist in STEALTH AND WOULD DO ANYTHING TO FURTHER THE zionist CAUSE

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Take your drugs first and then see that Mizrahi Jews are from there. The Ashkenazi only are the foreigners.

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead So what they are squatting on Palestinian land Palestinians never consented to their presence in Palestine

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

You are squatting on Hindu land.

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead So you say WITHOUT EVIDENCE BUT THEN LYING TWISTING FACT DECEPTION ARE ALL IN YOUR DNA

Ahson

You can’t win mr balu. It’s sad……what do we say? what can we say?

S Balu

Ahson Indian dalit boy because you OUTRIGHT LYING AND NOT LOOKING AT SUPREME TRUTH LIARS ARE CAUGHT JUST LIKE YOU HENCE YOUR COMMENT

Ahson

but you from Pakistan no? You got nothing to do with Israel. You not even a part of the middle east. Yous hendi bro. Come on no?

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

LOL

Jnoub

Wasn’t the Holocaust orchestrated by Hitler, the grandson of one of the Rothschilds and by the Rothschild family to justify creating Israel? That’s why the Balfour declaration was created before the second WW.

S Balu

Jnoub NO CREDIBLE RESEARCH DOCUMENT EXIST TO PROVE IF HOLOCAUST EVER TOOK PLACE WHATEVER YOU READ IS TWISTED AND WRITTEN BY VICTORS NAPOLEON SAID HISTORY IS WRITTEN BY VICTORS WHICH IS NO LONGER CONTESTED

Abu Muhammad Allah جثث فاسدة مصاصة الديك

46% of the population of Israel comes from Europe and has no other connection to the Middle East than the Jewish religion. Many of the older generation of Jews living in Israel and the United States are registered as missing in Europe and are included in the Holocaust accounts. As is well known, no Jew was killed by Allied acts of war as other Europeans were killed. Jews were only killed in concentration camps as the victor has described the story.

Icarus Tanović

They are eating Arab national dishes.

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Arab lol

S Balu

Icarus Tanovic Precisely like devious anglo saxons CLAIMING ABOUT INDIAN DISH CALLED CHICKEN THIKKA MASALA WAS INVENTED IN UK AND MANY INDIAN BABUS TO BE IN GOOD BOOKS WITH devious anglos give credibility to this claim same here with James Dhorsey

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Anglos are not liked by me but I prefer them to Pakis. But we have French, Germans, Italians and Spaniards alongside other smaller groups to defend ourselves from your paranoia.

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead Happy to hear this from MEATHEAD LIKE YOU BET YOU USE TOILET PAPER HENCE YOUR TYPICAL COMMENT

Icarus Tanović

That is that so called chris, he’s english.

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

I am 100% Greek

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead Most Greeks have Turkish DNA there nothing like PURE GREEK MAYBE YOU ARE A FAKE GREEK JUST LIKE FAKE JEWS CALLED zionist

Icarus Tanović

He’s not, he’s an english.

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Proofless

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

100% Greek

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead Prove it that you do not have 100% TURKISH DNA

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Turkish DNA means Mongol DNA. Anatolian Ottomans were part of Mediterraneans plus some Caucasian DNA. Hittites had some Semitic DNA also.

Icarus Tanović

He’s english. I can give you his full name, all of his family and what he’s doing.

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Yes

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead No wonder you have smelly backside

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Do you lick backsides?

Ahson

Apparently he sniffs them.

S Balu

Ahson Please EXPLAIN AND DESCRIBE IN DETAIL HOW ?

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead So you say because you have smelly backside and do not want to help the environment by using water

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Some German Jews served the Nazis. The Nazis wanted a Jewish ethno-state in Palestine. Nazis mostly hated the globalist Jews. But they were bad also.

Abu Muhammad Allah John Hopkins University has proven scientifically and conclusively that zionist in Occupied Palestine are FAKE JEWS AS DO NOT HAVE SEMITIC DNA FURTHER THERE NO CREDIBLE RESEARCH DOCUMENT EXIST TO PROVE IF HOLOCAUST EVER TOOK PLACE AUTHOR JAMES DORSEY IS A zionist in STEALTH AND WOULD DO ANYTHING TO FURTHER THE zionist CAUSE

IMHO

This is a useless and stupid article.

S Balu

IMHO Basically James Dorsey is paid propaganda agent of zionist And would think anything to advance zionist cause

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Why are Palestinians called Arab?

Icarus Tanović

Why jews are called jews?

Last edited 7 months ago by Icarus Tanović
Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Jews = tribe of Judah

Icarus Tanović

What was before that? No name? What?

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

I don’t know

Icarus Tanović

Then fuck of.

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

After you of course

Icarus Tanović

Gentlemen first.

S Balu

Why are you called MEATHEAD ?

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Metalhead

Gay Ranger

These cowards steal everything, there is no such thing as “Israeli cuisine” – it’s as much a misnomer as “Israel” – both being propagated by ZioNazi SouthFart 💨 articles like this!

S Balu

THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF WAR BEING WAGED BY zionist and zio Christian west ON MUSLIMS AND NON EUROPEANS SOFT WAR IE VIA DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEDIA SUCH AS THIS AND JAMES DORSEY IS VERY MUCH PART OF THIS AND HARD WAR WHERE FORCE IS USED AND BLACKMAIL AS WEAPON IS USED

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

We will finish what we have started! Deus Vult!

S Balu

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead You sure ?

Reactionary Monarcho-Socialist Metalhead

Yes

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