In a recent article published in The Huffington Post, entitled “Sabra’s Quest To Push Hummus Mainstream Is About Much More Than Chickpeas” by Saki Knafo, Knafo addresses a multitude of issues concerning tensions between Palestinians and Israelis using the common medium of hummus. In particular, Knafo targets Israeli founded brands such as Sabra. He makes inaccurate comparisons between the ongoing unrest in Israel and the spreading popularity of hummus in the United States and beyond.
Knafo alludes to the fact that consumers should boycott Sabra and other hummus companies as part of the BDS campaign, which is an extremely underhanded, hateful, and hypocritical movement. For example, many worldwide organizations have offices throughout Israel and employ Israelis, but consumers never consider boycotting companies such as Google. The entire prospect is enraging and unheard of to me, and I am baffled as to why the mere recipe of hummus must be brought into a political conflict.
Knafo’s words came across as anti-Semitic as he portrayed Sabra’s founders in a strictly negative light, failing to provide readers with a broader perspective- as most journalists are obligated to do. Knafo states that the point of the BDS campaign is to create “economic pressure on the Israeli government to end its 46-year occupation of Palestinian territories.” However, economic pressure will not bring an independent state. Many can agree that one of the only things that will is a Palestinian partner interested in peace negotiation. Moreover, unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership has stated that they have no interest in negotiating with Israel, and this continues to perpetuate unrest in the region.
The article nearly accuses Jews living in the Middle East of robbing Arabs of the recipe for hummus. But, in fact, there are distinct differences between hummus created in Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Azerbaijan, and Greece, to name just a few; these have nothing to do with religious or hereditary qualities. Instead, the differences that arise between hummus recipes exist solely because of the traits of the soil and land. For example, olives and olive oil are incorporated in many hummus recipes in Greece simply because one of the main economy-stimulating exports in Greece is olives. Beyond that, chickpeas and hummus have been around long before the creation of Islam, and more than half of Jews living in Israel trace their ancestors to hummus eating countries.
Overall, I cannot understand why such disrespectful tactics were expressed in an article found in a notably liberal and trustworthy publication. The hatred of Jews and Zionism can only be thwarted by people ready put aside their own bias and open their minds to the factual evidence that exists separate and apart from chickpeas, Islam, and Israel.
Contributed by Sara Lustberg
Sara Lustberg is a board member of YOFI, the CCAP-supported group at CUNY Baruch.