Normally committed to a daily dose of Israel-bashing, the NYT outdid itself on Feb 6th with two front page articles in the News section and sourly in the Food Section. “Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen” by the Pakistani/Iranian author Yasmin Khan, offers recipes for roast chicken, cauliflower soup and spicy shrimp and tomato stew. Although these sound appetizing, the meat of the article is the opportunity to offer the following observation made about the West Bank when the author worked for War on Want, a British charity: “Seeing the physical apparatus of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank was very hard to witness.” We are told that in writing this book, she “made a point not to quote any Israeli sources..an absence that she hoped would send a message: Palestinian voices are not always heard. Listen.” Then, with unsated appetite, the Times journalist quotes Joudie Kalla, author of Palestine on a Plate: “If you look deep into the books, they are about keeping our heritage alive in a world that is so desperately trying to hide us away.”
Where to begin? In order of her comments, I assume that the apparatus Ms Khan refers to is either the wall or the security checkpoints that separate the West Bank from Israel proper. Both were instituted to deflect the numerous suicide bombers and terrorist activity levied against Israel since it acquired the West Bank in its self-defense against the Arab war of aggression in 1967. Without belaboring the long history of Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state, it is hard to believe that any sophisticated traveler would be more upset by the checkpoints in disputed territory than those at every major airport in today’s world. Ms Khan doesn’t mention that the standard of living for Palestinians on the West Bank is superior to that of their fellow countrymen in Gaza, Jordan or any other Arab country.
The only refugees to have their own agency at the U.N. are Palestinians where the U.N.Relief and Works Agency employs 30,000 local people, 99% of whom are Palestinian to care for 5 million refugees from 1948. UNRWA is supported primarily by America and European countries and on their website, they offer a tally of how much financial assistance was delivered in the twenty year period between 1993 - 2013. During that time frame, a family of four would have been subsidized with $52,954 /per year. This shows a world paying very generous attention to Palestinians, assuming that most of the money wasn’t skimmed off the top as every cook knows how to do with fat
Anyone who wants to hear the Voice of Palestine should go to an American campus, most of which offer Israel Apartheid Week on their menus, not to mention Students for Justice for Palestine which has successfully created the BDS campaign to boycott Israel financially and culturally. Or they can listen to two of our newest congresswomen or to Linda Sarsour, a most outspoken leader of the Women’s March and a favorite of our Democratic party. But reading the daily Times is bound to satisfy the hungry with an extensive smorgasbord of anti-Israel commentary from every aspect of politics and culture and in culinary terms, to accept the refusal of its leadership to acknowledge Israel’s rightful existence as part of Palestinian Cuisine Resilience.
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