As someone who studies the anti-Israel movement, the outburst on Twitter by pollster and Bernie Sanders backer James Zogby comes as no real surprise.

But unless you study the bizarro alternate-universe of Israel hatred, this probably will leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

To anti-Israel activists, be they Palestinian or western liberals, everything Israel does is genocide and ethnic cleansing. The facts matter not. The population of non-Jewish Arab citizens of Israel has grown dramatically since Israel’s founding, and Israeli Arabs have the highest life expectancy of anyone in the Arab world. Yet the word genocide and ethnic cleansing routinely is used to describe Israeli Jews actions towards the Arab minority.

So too non-Israeli citizens who live in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza. The populations there also have grown dramatically, so much so that anti-Israel activists pin their hopes on this supposed demographic time bomb. Yet again, genocide and ethnic cleansing routinely are applied to Israeli Jews’ treatment of those growing populations.

But it doesn’t stop there. For many years, if not decades, there has been a claim of Israeli cultural genocide against Palestinians, often focused on foods that have been associated as Israeli in the public mind for decades, but Palestinians claim is theirs.

One of the leading intellectual drivers of this food genocide theory is hate-tweeting former professor Steven Salaita, one of the architects of the academic boycott of Israel, who actually wrote an article called ‘Israeli’ hummus is theft, not appropriation:

“…. the controversy about Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian food – most infamously its claim to hummus, a lucrative product in Europe and North America – has nothing to do with Jews eating Arabic food. In fact, it has nothing to do with Jews at all. That ludicrous idea is possible only because Zionists aggressively conflate Jewishness with Israel.

Instead, it has everything to do with a deliberate, decades-old programme to disappear Palestinians….

When Zionists (or their oblivious collaborators) claim Arabic food as Israeli, it’s not a paragon of intercultural harmony but the studious destruction of Palestinian culture….

Using Arabic food as a symbol of Zionist identity hands over the day-to-day victuals of the native to the coloniser. It’s a project of erasure, a portent of nonexistence, a promise of genocide.,,,

Such is to be expected of an ideology defined by a rapacious appetite for other people’s possessions. “Israeli” couscous, hummus, falafel, shawarma, fattoush, mjuddera, and knafeh, like the state forever aggregating glory from deception, is merely a rawboned fantasy nourished by a gluttonous diet of empty calories.”

So Israeli Hummus = Call to Genocide in the bizarro world of BDS activists and Israel haters.

FWIW, what we now refer to as Hummus has ancient roots from many places in the Middle East, and arguably is mentioned in the Book of Ruth (depending on translation), thousands of years before the Arabs who conquered what is now Israel began in the middle of the last century to self-identify as “Palestinian.” For anti-Israel activists to claim Hummus as the property of Palestinians is not a serious claim, but it’s a claim that is made with incredible frequency.

It’s also true that Hummus is something of an Israeli national dish, which is why so many people associate it with Israel:

Hummus is the common denominator for all Israelis. Ask an expatriate what he misses most, watch two Israelis argue for hours about where the best hummus is served, or try driving through the hummus-eateries filled streets of Jaffa on a Saturday and you’ll understand:

Israelis simply love their hummus. That is understandable considering the fact that an average Israeli consumes about 10 kg (about 22 lbs) of hummus a year

Not surprisingly, the most popular brand of hummus in the U.S., controlling more than half the market share, is “Sabra” hummus. Sabra is a term referring to a type of prickly fruit (rough on the outside, sweet on the inside), often used to refer to Israelis born in Israel as opposed to immigrants. That was particularly significant decades ago, where as now the vast majority of Israelis are native-born.

Some anti-Israel loons claim that Sabra hummus was named after the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, but that is false and just an anti-Israel libel. Sabra also is the target of college dining hall boycott efforts because it is partially owned by an Israeli company (though the chick peas are grown in the U.S. and the main factory is in Virginia).

This is a long-winded way of getting to the Twitter meltdown by Zogby, the son of Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon.  Zogby is best known for Zogby polling, but also founded the Arab American Institute. Zogby doesn’t like being called anti-Israel, but he certainly gives that impression.

Zogby appeared at an anti-Israel panel during the 2016 DNC convention sponsored by an anti-Israel group, and accompanied by Linda Sarsour, Keith Ellison, and Josh Rubner:

In 2016, Zogby was named by Bernie Sanders to Bernie’s DNC Platform team, and unsuccessfully battled with the Hillary team over the traditional Democratic Party pro-Israel platform. Zogby also is a hardcore Bernie Bros., and serves as Chair of The Sanders Institute.

Zogby can be effective because he doesn’t usually come across as a nutcase and screamer, unlike so many who engage in similar “pro-Palestinian” efforts, like Linda Sarsour.

Though on Twitter today, Zogby lost it. Over a tweet by Rachel Ray about Israeli food:

Israeli food! Hummus! Must mean … GENOCIDE!

Twitter erupted in mockery.

I know this will shock you, but Zogby doubled, tripled and quadrupled down:

This all is humorous at one level.

But at another level it speaks of the pathology of the anti-Israel movement.

It’s a passive-aggressive attempt to deprive Israeli Jews of their own Middle Eastern heritage and culture by claiming their culinary culture were stolen from “Palestinian” latecomers to the region.


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