carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

LEBANON: Launching a falafel war against Israel

Hummus1It sounds like satire, a tall tale meant to illustrate the downright pettiness of the Middle East's ongoing rivalries and resentments.

But apparently, it's totally serious.

According to a report by the Deutsche Presse Agentur, Germany's news agency, a Lebanese trade union is planning to sue Israel for claiming that the Jewish state has propriety over traditional Arab cuisine such as falafel, tabbouleh and hummus, which Lebanese consider their own.

The president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Fady Abboud, has apparently said he's preparing a lawsuit in international courts against Israel for "taking the identity of some Lebanese" meals, according to the report, which was picked up by the Israeli media, including Haaretz:

"In a way the Jewish state is trying to claim ownership of traditional Lebanese delicacies such as falafel, tabbouleh and hummus [costing Lebanese] tens of millions of dollars annually. ... The Israelis are marketing our main food dishes as if they were Israeli dishes."

He said his union is trying to register Lebanese foods and ingredients with the government in Beirut "so it can appeal to the international courts against Israel," Abboud said.

According to DPA, he cited the Greek "feta cheese precedent" of six years ago, when Athens managed to prove it had invented Feta cheese.

By registering Lebanese foods and ingredients, "we are preventing Israel from stealing our main food trademarks and selling them around the world," Abboud told DPA.

But Lebanon might have a tough time arguing its case. Syrians and Egyptians also lay claim to such yummy Lebanese appetizers as hummus and tabbouleh.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: The salad combination with falafel balls at the Haifa Restaurant on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (9)

First they steal land, then homes, and guess what? now they are stealing Lebanese culture. U guys are pathetic. Israelis need to get a life. Create ur own culture and stop stealing others. FALFEAL, TABOULEH,HUMMUS, AND MANY OTHERS ARE ARAB FOOD, AND ALWAYS WILL BE.

But i dont really care becasue israelis suck at making lebanese food. THEY SUCK, u guys can steal our food but u will never be able to cook it right. ISRAELIS GO GET A LIFE. AND STOP STEALING THE LEBANESE CULTURE.

To all the people who left hateful comments and try to mix politics with food, two things; First, There is no reason to spill all you Zionist venom when the topic is trade and food. But for the record, Hezbollah kicked your asses and they will kick it again, and again, and again. So, warm your butts for the next round of ass kicking IF YOU DARE. You were humiliated by Hezbollah INTERNATIONALLY and it seems you liked it so much you want more.
Second, if you think that it is a clever business practice to steal and claim stuff that is not yours, then you are WRONG. There is NO SUCH THING as Israeli dishes, you people are a bunch of mercenaries that were gathered from all over the globe (where you were never welcomed in the first place) and put in this holy land by the British with the approval of the Saudi ruling clan.
All the recipes, history, traditions and so forth that you people claim, are not yours, they belong to the original owners of the land, THE PALESTINIANS, they own the Falafel and the traditions and the history of the land not you.
Finally, if the Lebanese are going to sue you for the rights of Falafel, they should. They have their own recipe, so does the Egyptians and the Palestinians and they too should start preparing law suits as well.

Israel's Falafel Paraphernalia!

In related news, the Palastinians have begun suing the Lebanese for claiming that these dishes belong to them, when they are in "fact" Palastinian recipes. Syria, Egypt, and Turkey are opening similar law suits.

An Israeli in Tel-Aviv was asked for comment and only answered "Sababa! Mi rotezeh falafel yisoreli?"

I feel so GUILTY....
Yes, its me. I took the recipe....and I won't give it back :-) :-)
Hey Lebanon, Syria and Hezbollah (who have the copyright on the TERROR) stole your whole country!

Try to stop us if you've got the (felafel) balls

Visit me:

Have a nice FALAFEL

I think this whole story is a bit ridiculous. Israel doesnt hold any copyright or patent on a style of food, they're just good at business.

I find this to be another way for Arabs to cry about Israel without focusing on real issues like weeding out terrorism.

You can't blame Israel for your lack of marketing skills.
Sorry Lebanon.

How about Lebanon taking care of the export/harboring of terrorists. You wanted them (Hezbollah) you got them, now take care of them and I don't mean stuffing the terrorists faces with another falafel ball.

These foods may be of Lebanese origin, but so are a lot of Israelis. Thus, the foods cannot possibly be legitimately called Israeli or Lebanese based on the personal identities of the people changing, not on one group trying to steal it from another.

Actually, falafel, hummus, and tabbuleh ARE Lebanese, as are other Lebanese dishes like fattush salad, sheikh-el-mehshi, etc. Other dishes, like kebab and stuffed grape leaves, are more International, with the Greeks, Syrians, Turks, Armenians, each having their own variants.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »



About the Contributors