They’re boycotting the most popular brand of hummus in the United States.
…at that bastion of higher education, University of California, Riverside.
Why on earth are they picking hummus? Don’t they know that in the Middle East EVERYBODY eats hummus, Arabs and Jews and everybody else who eats?
Let me tell you a secret. Anybody who knows about this, raise your hand!
A number of years ago, Lebanon tried to get an international patent on hummus. I’m not kidding!
This caper had to go through some international court.
Meanwhile back in Israel, there is a little Arab town called Abu Ghosh. It’s in an area where lots of Jewish and Arab communities coexist. There are tensions that crop up when “something happens,” but in general everybody rides the same bus to go shopping in the Shuk in Jerusalem, and takes the same bus home.
Now, Abu Ghosh is famous for its delectable hummus. I mean, it is out of this world delicious! It’s the only hummus I eat when I’m in Israel (except for the home-made hummus at the eponymous restaurant, “Hummus.”)
So when Lebanon came up with their asinine scheme to patent hummus and prevent anyone else (read: Israelis) from making it, Abu Ghosh had a different idea: have a contest and invite various Middle East neighbors to participate, and may the best hummus win!
It was decided that each contestant would prepare a gigantic plate of their finest chickpea puree. The judges would go around and taste, then the public, armed with pita, would devour what was left.
Abu Ghosh won. The international court threw out the case.
And so, everyone in the Middle East still eats hummus. Every day. If you are under 25 and a student, or in the Army, you might eat hummus at every meal.
Gilad Shalit are nothing but hummus and pita for five years, when he was kidnapped by Hamas and kept in an underground tunnel. He survived, but he looked very much the worse for wear when he was finally freed.
If Lebanon and Israel can agree to a hummus truce, what’s wrong with these students? Don’t they learn history?
Apparently not. Apparently they gobble up whatever nonsense they’re fed by the loudest and most militant factions, without checking facts or bothering to look at all the sides. Because there aren’t just two sides in Israel/Palestine.
There are communities like Abu Ghosh that have integrated into Israeli society while keeping their own language, religion, and customs.
There are communities in Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) that have flourishing industries that provide thousands of jobs for Palestinians. When Israeli employers are forced out of the West Bank, Palestinians suffer. They lose their jobs. Then they riot because they lost their jobs. Way to go, boycotters! You just did the opposite of what you said you wanted to achieve.
So if they want to boycott American made hummus, first they must think of the diverse American workforce that they would harm, just like the more than 600 Palestinians who lost their jobs after the Sodastream plant was forced to close and subsequently moved to the Negev Desert, where they now employ around 300 formerly unemployed Bedouins.
Hysteria is contagious. Why not common sense?