Many journalists, Israeli and from abroad, has contacted me lately, asking questions about the so called “Hummus War” I’ve been covering here, and also in the highly popular Hebrew edition of the blog. And when the new Lebanese Guinness Record (a 2-ton hummus plate) was declared the flow of attention doubled.
Some of you probably wondered what I have to say about the new hummus guinness record, set by 300 Lebanese chefs. WELL, the first thing that pops in mind is this: never have so many did so much for The Hummus Blog.
In the past two weeks search traffic to this blog went through the roof, with blogs as well as large news sites linking to it from all over the world.
Ynet, the largest news site in Israel asked for a special column. Other local newspapers and radio stations interviewed or asked me to comment about the matter. Some foreign journalists also called me, including French24, and a BBC reporter who, sadly, tried to reach me in the middle of a rock concert.
So what do I think about the new record?
Since writing in English is not as trivial for me is it is to write in my mother tongue, I would like to quote here my writen answer to Mr. Zhangle, a Chinese journalist based in Beijing, to whom I gave a relatively thorough answer.
“Above anything else, I’m very impressed with the new record from Beirut, and would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the Lebanese chefs for a job well done!
I hope other attempts will be made to break this new record, because the bottom line is that such acts help to spread the word about hummus – which as some wise friend once told me, is god’s gift to the poor. This friend (who owns a great hummus place in Jaffa) is Muslim and I am Jewish, but we share the same love for god and the same love for this godly dish.
I tasted Lebanese hummus a few times while touring in Europe and liked it very much. I hope in the future we’ll have peace and I could eat hummus in Beirut and Damascus too. But so far, and from what I tasted, I still believe our Palestinian brothers make the best hummus in the world.
[About the Lebanese claim of ownership over hummus:] I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt it if there’s a case here. First, If Israelis make hummus and sell it, under what name should they do so other than “hummus”? Second, there’s nothing to support the claim that hummus was invented by Lebanese. Hummus is also eaten by Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanian and other Arab peoples. It’s a folk-song that is sung in many countries and which origin is unknown.
Personally, I think that the idea of someone having ownership over an ancient dish like hummus is a bit strange. Who’s the owner of bread? Who owns butter? Who’s the inventor of the steak? Hummus is no-less important in the Middle-East, culturally, collinearly and nutritionally.
And one last personal note: we have many problems in the Middle East. The ongoing conflict is a terrible thing, that already shattered the life of numerous people. I hope Israeli and Lebanese leaders, and the leaders of other countries in the region, will be wise enough to end it soon. I also hope that less people would drag their politics into their hummus.
This alleged ‘hummus war’ is certainly one of the nicest wars we have in the region. Let’s hope all our future wars will be of the same kind.
S.G. The Hummus Blog, Israel”