Daily Thoughts: Food Politics in Palestine

Daily Thoughts…..Food Politics

Something that has bothered me for some time, and I am sure many of you feel the same way, is what I see as the co-opting of Palestinian cultural items, specifically food, by Jewish/Israeli communities.
Let’s take moment and think about the political implications of food and one culture taking traditional foods of another and claiming them as their own. Some people may ask, what’s wrong with that?

The problem starts when the people who claim the food as part of their cultural fabric (i.e. Palestinians), are rendered invisible by the powers that be.

For example, here in Winnipeg we have an annual Folklorama event, which features pavilions from countries around the world. One of the countries represented is Israel. Of course the pavilion is not historically accurate and does not tell the true story of the Nakba and how the state of Israel was created. Moreover, the Pavilion features Middle Eastern) (Palestinian) foods like falafel, tabouleh salad and hummus.

It is important to note while neither of these foods are part of Jewish culture; however they are an intrinsic part of the cultural fabric of Palestine, something the Israelis are trying to wipe out. I think what bothers me the most about the foods at the pavilion is that their origins are not revealed, just as the true origins of the state of Israel are not revealed, and visitors to the pavilion, who do not know any different, assume that these foods are essentially Israeli (Jewish), when nothing could be further from the truth.
Apparently the local Palestinian community had made efforts in previous years to have their community included at the pavilion, but there was quite a protest when this was even suggested. Currently there are no Arab communities represented at all at Folklorama, although Winnipeg, just like other large cities, has a diverse population with immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and many other nations.

The view of Say No to SodaStream and Say Yes! to Human Rights is that an Apartheid state like Israel should not be given a forum for its false cultural displays and giving them such a forum Folklorama is complicit in reinforcing the lies the state of Israel has told for the past 65 years.

What we would like to see one day is recognition of Palestine at Folklorama.

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