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The 11.5 Ton Lebanese Hummus Plate & The Zionist Conspiracy

Another Guinness record for the largest hummus plate was set by Lebanese – 11.5 tons this time. But is it possible – and I’m just thinking out loud – that some people take this too seriously?

The famous 300 Lebanese chefs did it again. Earlier this month they broke the recent Guinness Record, set on January this year in the Arab village of Abu Gosh, near Jerusalem.

The fine PR work around this new record, led – again – to an unprecedented coverage in the media.

Naturally, as the only person on earth who has not one but two blogs about hummus (including the Hebrew version), I was promoted from “only” being interviewed by CNN, BBC and such, to have been quoted as a “Quote of the Day” in TIME alongside Gordon Brown, Barack Obama, and a few others who may achieved a little bit more in their life than I.

A joke that is slightly less funny

In a post about one of the previous records (here) I already explained why I think this alleged “hummus war” is rather funny. And better yet, why it’s a great PR for hummus – even though it is anything but a genuine rivalry between Israeli and Lebanese chefs.

The Lebanese campaign of reclaiming hummus has little to do with national feelings or gastronomic pride. The question is not “who owns hummus” but who will sell packaged hummus to the American market. And I think most Israelis and Lebanese will agree that’s not even real hummus.

I still think the hummus war is one of the nicest we had in the region, and we should all wish for more wars like this and fewer wars in which people are actually killed. Unfortunately, when there’s so much money involved, there will always be people who will use the opportunity for their agenda.

One of the funniest pieces on this hummus war was published last week in Asharq Alawsat, a respectable Arab newspaper published in the UK. In a column titles Psychological Warfare the author, Muhammad Diyab, actually claim that the hummus war is a Zionist conspiracy:

“Israel always succeeds in dragging us away from core issues to be preoccupied by marginal ones, such as the hummus war that is currently raging between Lebanese chefs and the Israeli intelligence’s psychological warfare department… I doubt that Israeli chefs are responsible for their rivalry… As Arabs, why are we concerned with competing with Israel on issues such as hummus whilst ignoring competition in the fields of industry, scientific research, educational and military excellence?”

The funniest thing about this theory is that – just as Diyab claims – Israeli chefs weren’t involved in the rivalry. The former Guinness Record, set in Abu Gosh, was actually a Palestinian achievement. Jawadat Ibrahim, the owner of the Abu Gosh Restaurant and his 30 chefs, are all Palestinians.

AbuGosh largest hummus plate video

Of course, the construction of the 4 ton Abu Gosh hummus plate was also a PR event sponsored by local food manufacturers (including the Barake tahini brand, which is also owned by Palestinians). The very significant difference was the Ibrahim dedicated his huge hummus dish to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

As for Diyab – he is a journalist from Saudi Arabia, a country who could hardly blame Israel for underachievement in sciences, industry or education. Sure, his leaders have other things in mind than the welfare of their citizens, but it isn’t necessarily hummus.

As for the Lebanese – they do have a series of very reasonable reasons not to like Israel, but hummus has nothing to do with that.

9 Comments on The 11.5 Ton Lebanese Hummus Plate & The Zionist Conspiracy

  1. There seems to be a tread in using food as a context for resolving or perpetuating conflict….

    “Conflict Kitchen”, a restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries in conflict w/USA.

  2. These folks are *maybe* a little bit too serious, mixing food with politics like that. Let us all just enjoy good hummus (and falafel!) and forget about those differences, non? 😀

    Btw, anyone here ever had edible canned hummus? Does such a product exist?

  3. “Israeli chefs weren’t involved in the rivalry. The former Guinness Record, set in Abu Gosh, was actually a Palestinian achievement. Jawadat Ibrahim, the owner of the Abu Gosh Restaurant and his 30 chefs, are all Palestinians.”

    ? Isn’t Abu-Gosh in Israel ? As far as I know, all the involved persons are Israeli.

    • Dana – when Diyab says “Israeli” I believe he actually means Israeli Jew. As a Pan-Arab nationalist he wouldn’t consider an Arab who is an Israeli citizen to be “Israeli Arab” but a Palestinian, and practically – many of the Israeli Arabs today also consider themselves to be of a Palestinian nationality, which is legitimate. Diyab also uses the term “us Arabs” and when talking about “the Israelis” it is clear he’s talking about people who aren’t Arabs – but the people from Abu Gosh certaily are.

  4. Yehuda, an Israeli brand, makes a canned hummus which is sold in American supermarkets. They also make a canned tehini.

  5. Well stealing is what Isreal does best. I’m an American, I know my tax dollars pay for it.

  6. You won’t post a conflicting opinion in your comments, NICE! I can tell you value free speech and diverse thinking! You should be ashamed of your self…

    [ answer: I don’t moderate comments on real-time. Anyhow, since we’re already talking: I myself have my issues with the current government, but what you’re saying doesn’t sound like you wonna talk so lets not ]

  7. The Hummus war is definitely one of the nicest wars in the mid-east.

    The Lebanese however seem to take themselves way too seriously!
    Falafel & Hummus are not Lebanese ! You can call them mid-eastern
    or Arab but definitely not Lebanese ! Tabouli on the other hand is Lebanese
    and you might be interested to know that it isn’t considered as Israeli food …

    Falafel was probably invented in Egypt by the Copts. The origins of Hummus
    hide in the mysts of ancient history … but Hummus was actually mentioned in the Bible(Book of Ruth) Boaz great Grand Father of David invited Ruth Great Grandmother of David to eat Pita dipped in Hummus – when they first met …

    But that doesn’t really matter right now. Hummus is eaten and loved by the people of what now are Syria, Jordan, Israel, The Palestinian Territories and Lebanon.

    Briggs ????

    Sounds you are full of hate and misconceptions. ” Stesalling is what Israel does best” ??? !!! ??? Would you care to elaborate ?

    Are you talking about food or other stuff ?

    If we concentrate about food for a sec, where you from? America ? Was Hamburger stolen by America ?
    Was Pizza stolen by America from Italy ?
    How about Pasta ? was it stolen by Italy from China ?
    And How about Pizza ? was Pizza stolen by the Italians from the Arabs ?

    I think no about all of the above but why don’t Lebanon sue Italy for stealing their Pizza (Manakish, Fatayer) …


  8. As a German hummus lover living in South Africa for the past 36yrs, I stumbled across this blog looking for a falafel recipe. What a fabulous site, and the comments/discussions are just hilarious – from the sublime to the ridiculous!
    To Briggs above: Oy vay – get a life! Eat some falafel with hummus, you’ll feel better! (Just make sure you rinse the chickpeas really well, lest you land up with even more gas!!!)

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