- The first rule of Occupation is, don't talk about Occupation.
- The second rule of Occupation is, no discussion of the subjects as human beings.
- The third rule of Occupation is, don't let on you're afraid of them.
Conflict Kitchen is an awesome project that also produces wonderful food. The sharing of meals is a universal common reference (see, The Last Supper). Breaking bread together is always a path to understanding and cooperation.
I've enjoyed the Venezualan, Afghan, Cuban, North Korean, and Palestinian projects at Conflict Kitchen.
In October this article conveyed messages from some Israel-supporting partisans. They suggest this phase of the project is one-sided, because it presents Palestinian food and views without including Israeli food and views.
That's like saying: it's a bad Italian cultural display, it doesn't have any Irish food and completely ignores The Troubles.
The brouhaha has legs. The Jerusalem Post headline reads, US Jews outraged over Pittsburgh restaurant's Palestinian menu and then shows a photo of a Palestinian cook pouring oil over a fire (which is totally not a metaphor or a suggested framework, no nothing of the sort):
Cui bono? This bit of controversy benefits these factions:
- Militant Israeli supporters who are unwilling to see Palestinians portrayed as human beings to an American audience.
- Zionists who are unwilling to see any civil discussion about American support for Israeli actions.
- Fundraisers who benefit from churning controversy.
- Those who want to discredit John Kerry and his 2016 Presidential campaign, because his spouse's endowment gave Conflict Kitchen a 50K grant a few years ago to move to their current location
The volatility of the response to the Conflict Kitchen project shows they're afraid of something. What are they afraid of? Just a guess: they don't want increased public awareness of the BDS campaign, a movement to divest from the Occupation just like ethical people divested from South African apartheid. They're afraid of Americans viewing the Occupation as Apartheid. (BDS: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
You can support Conflict Kitchen without weighing in on whether the Israeli's are occupying the Palestinian population, banning their political organizations, denying human rights, and violating international standards by subjugating a population for 40+ years.
It's pretty clear to me that Palestine is a place, that Palestinians are occupied by Israel, that Palestine is in conflict with Israel, and that America is supporting Israel's actions and policies. To me the presentation of Palestinian food and views is completely consistent with Conflict Kitchen's mission.
People who say, don't talk about that and don't eat their food are afraid, and I wonder if that means they know they're wrong.