The Director General of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), Saadeddine al-Owaini, is urging Arab countries to participate in its campaign against Israel for “stealing the region’s dishes.” According to Owaini, Israel is making a profit off exporting boxed falafel without having played a role in the dish’s creation.
This is not the first time the association has declared a food war against Israel. Last year, then-ALI president Fadi Abboud threatened to file an international lawsuit against Israel for “taking the identity of some Lebanese foods,” including tabouleh and hummus.
Although silly, these accusations are part of a larger, more serious attempt at discrediting the Jewish people’s historical connection to the Middle East. Earlier this month, according to Palestinian Media Watch, historian Nabil Alqam challenged the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land of Israel on Palestinian television. In another TV interview, senior PLO official Saleh Rafat accused Israel of stealing Palestinian “cuisine, clothing [and] architecture,” while also denying the existence of the Jewish Temple.