Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lebanese upset over prize for Israeli falafel

Al Arabiya (Arabic) reports that the president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Fadi Abboud, is protesting the fact that an Israeli company won an award at a New Jersey food expo for a falafel product.

He is sending a letter to the organizers emphasizing that falafel is a Lebanese product, not Israeli, and to give such an award in an insult to Lebanese falafel vendors.

He says that Israel persists in stealing Arab food like falafel, hummus and tabbouleh,

Abboud will send a letter to the Lebanese Economic Minister to formally protest to the United Nations that "Israel's efforts strive to give the impression in the international markets that falafel is one of its culinary heritage, as they did with other dishes" like tahini.

Lebanon will also respond to this insult by making the world's biggest falafel ball, similar to last month when they prepared the world's largest hummous and tabbouleh dishes.

And what was this food fair in New Jersey that has Lebanon so upset?

It was the annual Kosherfest fair! The award that irks him so much was the "best food from Israel" award, which would make it difficult to give to a Lebanese company (unless you want to include Lebanon in Biblical Israel, which might upset them a bit more.)

I suggest that Lebanese vendors who are so upset over Israeli companies stealing their cuisine feel free to obtain kosher certification for their products and to display them in next year's Kosherfest so they can be judged and compared with Israel's entries. And I wish them much luck in cracking the kosher consumer market.