Israel’s expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, villages, and lands in 1948 did not stop with the Jewish militias and the removal of arab names from maps. It also included the the cultural appropriation of books, dress, and food, including the falafel, which Israeli propaganda has named “Israel’s national snack”. Far from a benign appreciation and enjoyment of food, Israel’s colonization of Palestinian food and culture – falafel and hummus, knaffe, hookah, arabic salad – acts as a propaganda tool to whitewash the systematic denial of Palestinian human rights and erase Palestinian identity and historical narrative. As journalist Ben White (2015) points out, the zionist appropriation of Palestinian food and culture serves to deny the existence of Palestine while simultaneously appropriating its land and heritage. “It is both an act of theft itself, and a way of justifying that theft.”
Recipe: Palestinian falafel with saffron tahini sauce
2 cups dried chick peas, soaked overnight
1 cup chopped, parsley
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
oil for frying
1 cup tahini
1 clove garlic
pinch saffron powder or few saffron threads
1 tsp salt
Blend the ingredients for the tahini sauce and pour into a dipping bowl.
Chop the onions, and garlic in a food processor. Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Drain and dry the chick peas. Add them to the food processor (depending on the size of your food processor you might need to do this in batches) and process until the mixture is almost smooth, but not mushy. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Form into balls and deep fry at 350 degrees for 4- minute each, depending on the size of the balls.
My son and I made this find dining Palestine Solidarity meal in celebration of renowned hip hop artist, Talib Kweli calling out “Free Palestine” during his Ithaca concert (see pictures, video, and more below)
Sheikh el Mahshi (Stuffed Eggplants)
Recipe adapted from the Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey
Eggplant is eaten in so many different dishes and preparations throughout Palestine and the rest of the Middle East. The Gaza Kitchen cookbook describes a properly prepared eggplant as the “queen of vegetables”.
8-10 baby eggplants
1 lb. Beyond Meat “beef” or other vegan ground “meat”
1 large onion
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. coriander
5 ripe tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the eggplants in alternating strips and soak them in a bath of salty water for 20 minutes. Sauté the onion, “meat”, salt cumin and coriander.
Liquefy the tomatoes in a blender with ½ tsp. salt.
Dry the eggplants and fry them on high heat until they are browned on all sider. Once they are cool enough to handle, make a slit in them and stuff them with 1/2 -1 tsp. of the “meat”
Arrange the stuffed eggplant in a baking tray and cover them with the liquefied tomatoes.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the eggplants are soft throughout. If they appear to be drying out, add water and /or cover them with foil.
Zahra Bi Tahineh (Cauliflower with Tahini)
recipe adapted from the Kitchen of Palestine website www.kitchenofpalestine.com
“Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce is popular particularly in Palestine, and generally in Levant”
1 cauliflower head
2 cloves cloves garlic, largely chopped
2 teaspoon salt
½ cup tablespoon tahini paste
juice of two lemons
6 Tbs. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the core and leaves off of the cauliflower head, then cut it into bite-size florets. Remove black spots that are located on the surface of florets using a small knife. Wash cauliflower florets thoroughly and dry them completely.
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the cauliflower florets and cover the pan. Leave the florets to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes or until they become golden. Turn them to cook on the other side for another 15 minutes or until florets are cooked and golden from both sides.
Blend the tahini lemon jounce, salt garlic, and water until smooth.
Place the cauliflower in a medium size ovenproof dish. Cover it with the tahini sauce and bake 40 minutes minutes or until sauce is mostly absorbed.
Lemon, herb salad dressing with Canaan Fair Trade Palestinian olive oil,
Palestinian farmers in the West Bank face many obstacles: Inequitable and distribution of water, illegal confiscation of farm land, restriction on freedom of movement, uprooting the uprooting and burning of ancient olive trees, and violent attacks by settlers and the Israeli military. One way to support Palestinian farmers is by purchasing Canaan Fair Trade olive oil. Buying your olive oil through Canaan Fair Trade not only supports Palestinian farmers, but is among the highest qualities of olive oil sin the world. You can buy Canaan Fair Trade olive oil and other Palestinian products through http://www.canaanfirtrade.com It is also available through Amazon.com
6 Tbs Canaan Fair Trade, or other Palestinian, olive oil,
6 Tbs. Lemon juice
½ tsp. white miso
½ tsp salt
Chopped thyme, chives, and basil
Blend and pour over local greens
We had extra tomato puree from our stuffed eggplants and so decided to cook our rice in it. The result was delicious.
2 cups jasmine rice
1 ½ cups tomatoes puree, blended with 2 cloves garlic
½ cups water
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs olive oil
Heat the oil, Add the rice and stir until hot. Add the tomato puree water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.
By Ariel Gold
Talib Kweli concert, September 3, 2015
2015 Palestinian Solidarity, signed by Talib Kweli
The past year has been one of high-profile growth for Black-Palestinian solidarity. Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on Black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint-struggle have emerged between our movements. Palestinians on Twitter were among the first to provide international support for protesters in Ferguson, where St. Louis-based Palestinians gave support on the ground. Last November, a delegation of Palestinian students visited Black organizers in St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit and more, just months before the Dream Defenders took representatives of Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and other racial justice groups to Palestine. Throughout the year, Palestinians sent multiple letters of solidarity to us throughout protests in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore. We offer this statement to continue the conversation between our movements:
On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)–and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States–we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.
Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.
Palestinian liberation represents an inherent threat to Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid, an apparatus built and sustained on ethnic cleansing, land theft, and the denial of Palestinian humanity and sovereignty. While we acknowledge that the apartheid configuration in Israel/Palestine is unique from the United States (and South Africa), we continue to see connections between the situation of Palestinians and Black people.
US and Israeli officials and media criminalize our existence, portray violence against us as “isolated incidents,” and call our resistance “illegitimate” or “terrorism.” These narratives ignore decades and centuries of anti-Palestinian and anti-Black violence that have always been at the core of Israel and the US. We recognize the racism that characterizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is also directed against others in the region, including intolerance, police brutality, and violence against Israel’s African population. Israeli officials call asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea “infiltrators” and detain them in the desert, while the state has sterilized Ethiopian Israelis without their knowledge or consent. These issues call for unified action against anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and Zionism.
We know Israel’s violence toward Palestinians would be impossible without the US defending Israel on the world stage and funding its violence with over $3 billion annually. We call on the US government to end economic and diplomatic aid to Israel. We wholeheartedly endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and call on Black and US institutions and organizations to do the same. We urge people of conscience to recognize the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a key matter of our time.
We offer this statement first and foremost to Palestinians, whose suffering does not go unnoticed and whose resistance and resilience under racism and colonialism inspires us. It is to Palestinians, as well as the Israeli and US governments, that we declare our commitment to working through cultural, economic, and political means to ensure Palestinian liberation at the same time as we work towards our own. We encourage activists to use this statement to advance solidarity with Palestine and we also pressure our own Black political figures to finally take action on this issue. As we continue these transnational conversations and interactions, we aim to sharpen our practice of joint struggle against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and the various racisms embedded in and around our societies.