One of the things which the pro-Palestinian activists who are behind the Trader Joe's action assert is that couscous represents an Israeli cultural appropriation or theft of something originally "Palestinian".
It is an absurd claim on the face of it.
Couscous is not Palestinian, but Berber. It is a staple in North Africa and the Sahel region, though not uncommon in Egypt and the Levant. It has also been eaten for centuries in France and Sicily, Greece and Cyprus. It was known in Italy as a Jewish food.
Even today, couscous is a traditional part of the diet of North African and Mizrahi Jews.
Ptitim (פתיתים אפויים = p'titim afuyim = baked flakes), however, is a pasta product that resembles Italian orzo. Unlike North African couscous, it is not raw-rolled semolina at all but a baked wheat product.
From Wikipedia:Ptitim was invented during the austerity period in Israel, when rice was scarce and in order to provide the needs of the Mizrahi immigrants, whose diets were largely made up of rice and couscous. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, asked Eugen Propper, one of the founders of the Osem food company, to quickly devise a wheat-based substitute to rice. Consequently, it was nicknamed "Ben-Gurion's Rice" by the people.
The company agreed to the challenge and developed ptitim, which is made of hard wheat flour and roasted in an oven. The product was instantly a success and not too long after ptitim made in the shape of small, dense balls (which the company termed "couscous") was added to the original rice-shaped ptitim.
Commonly, ptitim is prepared, with sautéed onions or garlic (vegetables, meat, chicken or sausages can also be added), the ptitim is then added, and fried for a short time before adding water. Ptitim can also be used as a substitute for pasta or rice. They can also go in soup, can be baked, can be served as a pie, or made as a risotto
DE-SHELVING ISRAELI PRODUCTS
From the letter demanding that Trader Joe's cease selling Israeli Couscous as well as several other products:
" .. the names of products such as "Israeli Couscous" are offensive as they allow a state that was created sixty years ago --[cut]-- to claim a type of couscous that was traditionally produced by Palestinians and other Arabs for generations. This is racist advertising for cultural theft ..
ice, tea, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cassia, turmeric, coconut, tamarind, citrus fruits, paper, silk, soy beans, lacquer, porcelain, distilled alcohol .........
eanuts, okra, ivory, coffee .........
omatoes, potatoes, chiles, chocolate, tobacco, corn, vanilla .........
lastic, stainless steel, modern medicine, the internal combustion engine, radio, computers, synthetic fabrics, telecommunications .........
This world could not function without cultural (especially culinary) cross-fertilization.
Much of our modern diet is the direct result of Dutch and Chinese plant-cultivation - the common orange-hued carrot, as just one example, was developed by Dutch market-gardeners during the Golden Age - but the contributions from the Americas, Asia, and Africa have also been vast.
CALL TO BOYCOTT
Never-the-less, I expect the following organizations and individuals to make do without any of the foods and inventions which are listed above.
ACTION FOR A PROGRESSIVE PAKISTAN, AMERICAN JEWS FOR A JUST PEACE, ANOTHER JEWISH VOICE, SANTA FE, BAY AREA INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ANTI-ZIONIST NETWORK, BIRTHRIGHT UNPLUGGED, BDS BAYAREA, BOSTON BDS, BOSTON COALITION FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS, BREAK THE SIEGE, BURNSVILLE AND EAGAN, MINNESOTA PEACE VIGILS, CAMPAIGN TO END ISRAELI APARTHEID – SOUTHERN, CHARLOTTE 4 PEACE, GLOBAL JUSTICE PROJECT, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION SERVICE - MO, INTERFAITH WITNESS FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE, JUSTICE FIRST FOUNDATION, JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS, OPT OUT!, OWL’S NEST NORTH COLLABORATION, PEOPLE AGAINST HATE SPEECH, QUEERS UNDERMINING ISRAELI TERRORISM (QUIT!), SAN JOSE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER, SOUTH ALAMEDA PEACE AND JUSTICE COALITION , SOUTH ASIAN COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, SOUTH BAY MOBILIZATION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, STUDENTS UNITED FOR PALESTINIAN EQUAL RIGHTS, THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST US TERROR WEAPONS, THE OREGON CAMPAIGN TO END ISRAELI APARTHEID, TRI-CITY PEACE AND JUSTICE, US CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL, VETERANS AGAINST TORTURE, VETERANS FOR PEACE, WESPAC FOUNDATION, WOMEN IN BLACK - LA, TOM ABERNETHY, SALMA ABY AYYASH, CAMBRIDGE, KAMAL AHMED, CHARLOTTE ALBRECH, SALEM AJLUNI, YASMINE ALKHATIB, HANNAH ALLEN, D ALWAN, AHMAD AMARA, ERIC ANDERSON, JUDY ANDLER, JAHAN ANSTAN, LOUISE ANTONY, THOMAS ASH, DEVIN ATALLAH, TERESE ATALLAH, HIMA B, MIKE BALDWIN, JANE BARK, SUSAN BARNEY, KATHLEEN BARRY, BEN BARSON, JAN BAUMAN, KHALIL BENDIB, GRETA BERLIN, BOB BOWES, UMAYYAH CABLE, ELLEN CANTAROW, GEORGE CAPACCIO, CHARLOTTE CASEY, JOHN CASSEL, JOYCE CASSEL, MARGARET CERULLO, PETER CHABAREK, CORTNEY CHILDS, DANIEL CLAYTON, SUSAN CURTISS, DEEMA DABIS, HUMA DAR, L DAVIDSON, WALT DAVIS, KATHLEEN DENSMORE, DAVID DIXON, JACK DRESSER, SUSAN DUNCAN, MARTHA DWYER, JANET EISELEY, JEAN ENTINE, HEDY EPSTEIN, KRISTI ERLICH, SHERIF FAM, SURA FARAJ, FRANCIS FEELEY, DAVID FIELDER, JULIA FIGUEIRA-MCDONOUGH, ROBERT FITZPATRICK, CHRIS FORD, MANZAR FOROOHAR, KARIN FRIEDEMANN, MELISSA FROILAND, SHALINI GERA, PROF JOHN GERASSI, ELIANE HAGOPIAN, KATHERINE HANNA, SWANEAGLE HARIJAN, KATHARINA HARLOW, MARTIN HARWAYNE, JANICE HAYDEN, JEAN HAYS, PAT HENDRICKS, CHARLIE HINTON, JOSHUA HOUGH, LYDIA HOWELL, JAY HUBBELL, MARY HUGHES, HAPPY HYDER, SUMIA IBRAHIM, HAYAT IMAM, MARY IZETT, A JARRAR, JANE JEWELL, PETER KARDAS, CASSANDRA KATSIAFICAS, JUNE KENAGY, REEMA KHAN, LOU KIPNIS, VIDULA KIRTIKAR, VICTOR KIZASKI, ALICE KLEIN, DAVID KLEIN, JEFF KLEIN, JANET KOBREN, JUDITH KOLOKOFF, JOEL KOVEL, GREG KOZICZ, BADAR KUDSI, JANE KURINSKY,PAUL LARUDEE, CECILE LENEMAN, HOWARD LENOW, MICHAEL LETWIN, MARIAH LEUNG, JOSEPH LEVINE, SCOTT LINDER, MICHAEL LYON, SUNAINA MAIRA, MICHAEL MARIA, ALICE MARSHALL, IVAN MARTIN, SAHAR MASUD, TANIA MAXWELL, HANNAH MEDROW, RASHA MHMOUD, SERGIO MONTEIRO, DORINDA MORENO, MICHEL MOUSHABECK, DR NANCY MURRAY, HIRA NABI, FARRUKH NAJMI, SHAHEEN NAZERALI, DAVID NELSON, MARCY NEWMAN, DOROTHY NAOR, ANA NOGUEIRA, KAMAL OBEID, DAVID OBERWEISER, IVAN OLSEN, MARCELLO PETRIGH, ANGELA PRICE, REV JOHN PROCHASKA, YASMIN QURESHI, MAZIN QUMSIYEH, BILL RAMSEY, ANNE REMLEY, FREDERICK REMLEY, GREGORY RIENZO, ROSALIE RIENZO, JOHN ROBERTS, KATHY ROBERTS, PAULA ROCHELLE, JULIE RUFO, ALAMEDA, AMIN SABA, DINA SABA, FADI SABA, NELLIE SABA, RAKSHANDA SALEEM, CAROLYN SCARR, SKIP SCHIEL, HANNAH SCHWARZSCHILD, JON SEIGE, BILL SELLSAHAR SHAFQAT, SAID SHEHADEH, ANNA SHENK, LENORE SHERIDAN, SNEHAL SHINGAVI, MOAZZAM SHIEKH, CATHERINE SHINN, SAUL SLAPIKOFF, EVE SPANGLER, JOHN SPRITZLER, RAMKUMAR SRIDHARAN, A STEK, CORNELIA SULLIVAN, IJAZ SYED, ALLYSON TAYLOR,JOHN THIELKING, KIN TILSEN, SAADIA TOOR, JAMES VANN, DONALD VEACH, NICOLE VOLZ, NABIL WAHBEH, DARLENE WALLACH, DONNA WALLACH, KATHLEEN WANG, LARRY WARTEL, AHMAD YAMAK, NADIA YASSA, JAMAL ZEID, MAGGIE ZHOU.
In fact, rather than merely expecting them to do without, I must insist that they cease using the products listed above.
As concerned people and organizations they support the call to boycott. Now they should show their sincerity by their example.
Admittedly that might set their life-style back a few thousand years - right about stone-age level - but they have to try. It's the very least they can do.
It's a matter of principle.
Labels: Degeneracy, ESAU'S FAN CLUB, Palestinian