January 14, 2010 — Beirut
Writer: Carole Corm
Forget military threats and terrorist attacks, Lebanese and Israelis have a new battle on their plates: hummus. The latest episode took place last Friday.
For over two years now there has been growing frustration in Lebanon over what is seen as Israel’s appropriation of such an important national dish as hummus (the succulent chickpea purée that’s topped with olive oil). Fadi Abboud, head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, has said that he wants to sue Israel for “stealing” hummus from the Lebanese. Israel he said, was marketing hummus – as well as tabbouleh and falafel – as their own inventions, causing the Lebanese to lose millions of dollars in potential revenue...
...For many enthusiasts, hummus says something about the Lebanese, and helps present them as sophisticated foodies who like to eat and enjoy life rather than launch jihad. (This claim prompted some Arab critics to see the hand of the “Christian Lebanese” behind the whole hummus affair.)