The Hummus War: Lebanon Takes on Israel

Travel Blog  •  Joanna Kakissis  •  10.10.08 | 10:47 AM ET

imageFadi Abboud of the Lebanese Industrialists Association says the popular chickpea dip as well as dishes such as falafel, baba ghannouj and tabbouleh belong to Lebanon, not Israel. So his organization is planning to sue the Israelis for food copyright infringement, modeling their case after Greece’s successful branding of feta cheese. Will it work?

Everyone makes hummus in the Middle East (and even Greece) so it’s hard to know who owns it. “But attempts to claim the food as a ‘national dish’ remain a reliable way to start nationalistic squabbles across the region,” writes David Kenner in Foreign Policy’s Passport blog.

Meanwhile, Time reports the best hummus in the Holy Land can be found at Lina’s in Jerusalem. Time’s Tim McGirk asked Lina’s owner Ghalib Zahdeh: Who invented hummus?

“Who cares?” Zahdeh answered. “Everybody makes good hummus around here—except the Egyptians.”

Photo by svacher via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Joanna Kakissis's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, among other publications. A contributor to the World Hum blog, she's currently a Ted Scripps fellow in environmental journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

4 Comments for The Hummus War: Lebanon Takes on Israel

Marilyn Terrell 10.10.08 | 6:51 PM ET

Some gorgeous photos of Lebanon on Dark Roasted Blend recently, giving me another reason to want to go (besides hummus and olive oil soap):

Islamic directory 10.13.08 | 4:21 PM ET

Interesting thanks for sharing..


ghassan 10.13.08 | 11:12 PM ET

The best Hummus , Tabbouleh Baba ghanouj , grape leaves kibbeh, Falafel , spinach pies etc…are made the Lebanese way and best made in Lebanon.

Nobody can come close to Authentic Lebanese dishes and
Fadi Abboud is right to sue.

fsdafd 10.19.08 | 3:54 PM ET


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