From hummus to Hamas – 900 chefs demand Israeli boycott

Israeli-born chef leads culinary boycott of the Jewish state.

By World Israel News Staff

Roughly 900 chefs around the world have signed a petition to boycott Israeli-owned restaurants and chefs who express support for Israel.

The crux of the complaint isn’t just a call for a ceasefire in the present Gaza conflict or a rolling back of Israeli control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. It’s also to protest the alleged cultural appropriation of what the organizers of the boycott claim to be “Palestinian cuisine”.

The petition, drafted by Hospitality for Humanity, calls for a boycott of Israeli restaurants, trips to Israel, and food events featuring Israeli dishes and chefs.

One of the creators of the petition, Ora Wise, an Israeli-born American chef, explained that although she was raised a Zionist, she has had to rethink the way Arab dishes are “rebranded” as Israeli.

Wise explains, “It’s really disingenuous when people claim, ‘Oh, it’s just hummus,’ or that these are just ‘hummus wars.’ We’re not talking about some just trivial squabble over ownership. What we’re talking about is one people dominating another people.”

It should be noted that Israeli cuisine is an amalgam not only of European dishes brought by Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jews) immigrants but also recipes from Sephardic (North African and Eastern Mediterranean) and Mizrachi (Middle Eastern) Jews, whose cuisine was similar if not identical in some cases to Arab dishes.

However, the accusation of cultural appropriation is only one justification for Hospitality for Humanity’s petition. They are also calling for an immediate ceasefire with some supporters saying the boycott should continue until the end of military control over contested areas of Israel.

Some of the prominent food industry names who signed the petition include She Wolf Bakery, pastry chefs at the Wythe Hotel, Mason Harford of New Orleans’ Turkey and the Wolf, vegan celebrity chef Bryant Terry, New Yorker food reporter Helen Rosner, New York Times food columnist Samin Nosrat, host of Netflix food documentary “High on the Hog,” Stephen Satterfield and author of The Palestinian Table, Reem Kassis.