Israeli Mezze Station: Follow-Up

Israeli Mezze Station: Follow-Up
Note: This is the second of three posts I wrote about the Israeli Mezze Station story that went viral and propelled a beautifully insane wave of supportive responses from people around the world. Harvard Business School expressed regret for the unintentional offense and issued a very gracious and responsible reply, found here below. This (quite long) follow-up post can also be found on Facebook; I group all my different replies to different groups. After this post, some Israeli-sympathizers expressed anger over this issue, sometimes quite personally. So I wrote a third and last follow-up post, an open letter to Israel, which can also be read on Facebook or on my website here. 

Alright my good friends, let’s wrap this up.

On October 28th in the year of our lord 2012, I posted a post about an Israeli Mezze Station Menu at the Harvard Business School dining room that I was not very happy about. The menu featured a wide array of typical Arabic and Mediterranean dishes, which as far as we’re all concerned should not be called Israeli the same way I cannot be called Israeli. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who felt unhappy about the false content of the menu… Within five days of my posting, the “shares” had climbed from 1 to 1,000 (with my knowledge of mathematics, that’s a whole increase of 000.) Then, literally overnight, the shares doubled to 2,000. Then kept climbing over the next week to 3,400+, all the while being accompanied by a generous 4,700+ likes and 270+ beautiful comments (we’ll define beautiful later).

Without me having to exert much effort, it was the virulence of your likes and shares, as well as the respectful way that everybody connected with their humor and frustration, that has caught the attention of the key people. Last week, I received an official, gracious response from Harvard Business School through Mr. Brian Kenny, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at HBS less than 24 hours after reaching out to them. He has kindly requested I share with you his response on behalf of Dean Nohria and Harvard Business School:

“As you can imagine we’ve been following the responses to your post since it first went up last week. [..] [our] response is essentially a mea culpa on the part of the school. Clearly we didn’t do enough to verify the the accuracy of the Israeli Mezze station menu. You correctly called us on it and struck a chord with thousands of others in the process. The fact that we offended people is deeply troubling, particularly considering that our reason for having the international buffets each day is to celebrate cultural diversity. We take such things very seriously. From the moment we first saw your post we began having extensive conversations internally and with Restaurant Associates to understand why this happened and how we can prevent it from happening again.” 

To which I answered:

“Dear Mr. Kenny,
I appreciate the time and effort you took to understand and commiserate with us about the sensitivity of this issue. Naturally, I knew that HBS would react properly, which maybe lets us see that we Arabs (even the more educated–Harvard Arabs) may be placing too hard of a stigma on American biased responses when it comes to Israel. […] While my Arab colleagues’ pessimism concerning evenhanded American responses is not founded on illusion (we have tons of history to prove American bias), your response has proven that it is still worth reaching out when we feel trampled on. […] So thank you for that, this will bring relief to many. 
Since your comment is positive, if you don’t mind, I will post it on my facebook wall, as I am writing a follow-up answer to the commotion that was caused. Do you mind?
Thank you again for your response. I look forward to posting a picture on my wall of an HBS authentic Arabic [sic. Middle Eastern] Mezze station, I think this will assuage everybody who feel they have been deprived of their identity. And kindly let me know when you do so, it would be an amazing response from HBS.”

To which he graciously responded:

“[…] Please do feel free to post my response on your page. […] We truly understand the reaction and the sensitivities of the Arab community. […] In the meantime, RA [Restaurant Associates, the catering company] asked me if they could post their own apology. They dont want to offend further but they would like people to know how sorry they are. […] As for the Arabic Mezze station, I will have them get to work on that right away.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the conclusions of this story:

1. Mark Zuckerberg has a good thing going.

2. Harvard Business School is the world’s leading business school for a reason.

3. You guys rock.

As a wrap-up to this wonderful story, I would finally like to personalize a few direct messages to those who became active on my facebook post:

I. To my fellow Arabs: 

I am so proud. I am so damn proud.

Never did I expect that a rant about food would go viral in such a comical way. I would literally sit behind my laptop and giggle out loud while I read your comments.

You have shown the world that you can be outrageously funny even in your frustration. The comments on your shares, and on the post thread itself are priceless. The comments were intelligent. They were perceptive. They were cultivated. They were bold. They were kind. And most important, they were respectful. And they were hilarious. I mean the sheer thought of someone disrespecting our food seems to bring out Hercules on a Saturday Night Live show in everyone.

I am proud of the amount of importance this has garnered because although the virulence is rooted in frustration, it has not manifested itself in brutality. In fact, quite the opposite. It has manifested itself as a humorous wave of frustration. And let’s face it, it is rare for the spotlight to be given to Arabs without some explosives in the background. Maybe the news channels have to start coming into our kitchens more often. “Look, no bombs. We are just fanning our zaatar.”

Other than adhering to their honorable ethics and values, I believe what made Harvard Business School respond so well to the post was the positivity and the unanimity of the Arab voice.

People on the thread liked other people’s comments even if they didn’t know them. People defended one another. People have even quoted one another. We were one united voice. And look at what ensued, Harvard Business School understood and responded, and the Israeli Mezze Station is no longer.

And for the one or two offensive self-designated Zionists who spoke on the thread (they then deleted their comments), the Arab responses were diplomatic, respectful and solid. There was no destructive hatred against Israel, it was just “calling them out” rightfully so. Thank you for that.

I hope we understand from this that a unified, respectful voice can go very far. And all the stigmas we hold about each other may probably be let down once and for all. As much as great American institutions like Harvard University may have intelligence and even be decision makers on the world chess map, sometimes they simply do not have the appropriate intel to do the “right” things despite their resources and brain power. They just need to be appropriately informed, preferably via non-suicidal bomb attacks, about why what they are doing is very controversial, and often just false. Hopefully, the dialogue scene will then open up with spotlight being given to us, the cultivated, respectful Arabs, and stop being given to the angry, violent ones, even if the angry, violent ones have very valid reasons to be angry.

Thank you for being so fantastic. Your comments and opinions will always be welcome on my future posts.

II. To HBS: 

The way you have handled this situation is mature and responsible. You have shown the world that with actions comes responsibility regardless of where you may really stand on fault and blame. Even if you do outsource your catering services, you did not even use that as an excuse. You honored your responsibility because it was important for you to honor our culture and heritage. I reiterate that I hope the world now understand that a blind all-encompassing biased stance at the expense of Arab honor does not necessarily go hand in hand with American institutions all the time. If such an attitude is officially carried out by the US administration on Capitol Hill, it will certainly save many American flags from burning around the world, and peace will ensue in the world. This is a beautiful message. So thank you for that.

III. To the journalists who reported about my post: 

Thank you for the coverage, my mother appreciates it. Although some of the articles missed the humor, (some made it sound like we were angry because someone died in our hummus), for what it’s worth, I am very grateful for the coverage.

The articles are on my wall for everybody to see.

IV. To the people of Israel and/or friends of Israel who interacted with the post: 

Good morning.

I have divided you into three groups.
1) The ones that argue with one of two arguments (to be answered below)
2) The ones that answered with hatred (and many then delete their comments)
3) The nice people, or those who liked and shared my post in positive light

Please read:

1) To Group number 1: 

To those who believe that Israeli food is “fusion food” resulting from Jewish immigrants coming from different places of origin.

Let me explain what fusion food is.

Fusion, from latin fusio meaning “to melt”, is the process of joining two (or more) things together to form a single entity. Single entity being the keywords here. This means that in order for it to be called “fusion food”, it would have to incorporate elements of diverse cuisines _within the same dish_.

Example 1: California maki rolls. Maki Roll=traditional Japanese rice rolled over nori seaweed with raw fish –> Stuff it with non-crab crab sticks (American) and avocado (staple of California apparently) –> fusion mix is created –> California roll!
Can you find a California roll in a typical Tokyo sushi restaurant? No, the Japanese would shoot themselves. Did Californians take hosomaki and claim it to be American? No, the Japanese would jujutsu them like there’s no tomorrow.

But this is what YOU did: Hummus=Typical Arabic Levantine dish –> Put Israeli flag on it –> Israeli Hummus!

Not gonna work. To put it mildly, that makes for copyright infringement. You are more than welcome to eat our food, as long as you give credit where credit is due, and in your case it is “everywhere”.

Otherwise, feel free to mash the chickpeas then shove the couscous in there, drench it with olive oil then top it with matzah balls and call it Israeli matzah ball-maftoul. Then in that case, it’s all yours. (Actually, you may have to credit me for that one. So to be safe, just come up with your own.)

– To those who say that Israelis have been “eating these foods for centuries” because of all the Israeli Arab Jews who immigrated to Israel: 

Let’s talk about the Arab Jews for a bit, shall we? Here are some numbers that everybody in the world should know about Israel, including Israelis who apparently don’t know their own country:

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as of May 2006, of Israel’s 7 million people, 77% were Jews, 18.5% Arabs, and 4.3% “others”. Among Jews, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are Olim — 22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries. (See for yourself

Let’s try to account for the number of Jews from Arab descent (both Sabras and Olim) and see if your argument makes sense.

  • Before the Balfour Declaration, in 1914, there were 60,000 Jews in Palestine (7.5% of the total population of Palestine.) With a 2% yearly population increase (reported by the Israeli Government, that puts them at around 417,000 today. With a life expectancy of 81 years old in Israel, at least 100,000 of them have died already. So to be generous, we’ll say that 317,000 remain.
  • In 1948, there were approximately 800,000 Jews who lived in the Arab world. By 1967, 500,000 of them ended up in Israel, the rest just dispersed around the world. Accounting for the same reported 2% yearly increase in population, this puts them at around 1.2 million today. 
  • To put all odds on your side, let us add the reported 10% from Asia and Africa (even if they surely are not all Arabs), that’s 154,000 more people. 

–> So: 317,000+1,100,000+154,000 = ~1.4 million Jews of Arab descent.

So what about the other 4 million immigrants who came from non-Arab countries since 1948? They’re the majority. Don’t they get to have a say in this? Why isn’t Russian pirozhki an Israeli dish too? or Italian gnocchi?

Do you really mean to tell us that 1.5 million Arab Jews have dictated to 7 million Israelis what they were going to eat? We won’t believe it… Because that would mean that you guys got whipped. And we’ve been at war with you, and it is NOT easy to whip you guys.

2) To group number 2: The haters

I am glad we have this open channel.

Some of you are Israeli, some are non-Israeli Jews, some are right-wing white American mustached old men (?). The positive part is that you were not many.

Let me start off by saying that responding with hatred and showing your annoyance at my post by “making fun” of the plight of the Palestinians or aggressing peaceful people on the thread is embarrassing for you more than for anyone else. The proof is you delete your comments soon after you realize that you have angered nobody, and how ill-founded your words are. The best minds of the world will tell you that nobody has ever won a debate by “making fun” of anyone else. It doesn’t work. If you call your adversary “childish” or “ridiculous” with no constructive argument, it doesn’t make your argument stronger. In fact, it does just the opposite, it makes you lose your ground, if you have one. You might be too used to winning all your battles easily because you have been used to employing force and you have never been forced to sit at a table and look us in the eye and speak constructive arguments, but soon, you’re gonna have to learn. Saying things along the lines of “what a sad life Arabs have” or “haha well the pesky Palestinians still don’t have a home” or by criticizing my family picture, makes for emotional terrorism, rather than constructive argument. And it makes your country and your cause look very bad.

To put it in mild terms, you and us, we have a very strained relationship. By we I mean we Arabs and you Israelis and friends of Israel. And whether we like it or not, we’re gonna have to work it out one of these days. Now, there are two scenarios that might make our relationship work:

One of us disappears. 2. We coexist.

The first scenario is not going to happen for a couple of reasons. First because it will have to entail a full-blown catastrophe (war, genocide, famine, epidemic…) that will require unimaginably precise and rapid results, but it is highly implausible that there would be ZERO survivors left on one camp only. The only recorded history of a vanishing race due to one of the above mentioned catastrophes is that of very, very old and isolated civilizations who were not connected to an outside world and who did not have online dating. Not today’s case, and certainly not your case (on both counts).
Second, it is scientifically impossible to cause the “disappearance” of anything within the boundaries of our physical world. The French genius Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, has stated in his law of conservation of mass that in matter “nothing gets destroyed, nothing gets created, everything only mutates.” The mass (and energy since e=mc2) of an isolated system can neither be created nor destroyed, but it will be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles. So no one is going nowhere. We might all just mutate into something weirder, like fusion food… but we won’t ever disappear.

So you see, we’re stuck with the second scenario of coexistence. And hatred is obviously not the answer. So we need to back off our hatred. But who will start?

Let me lay out a map for you to understand the danger of “Israeli haters” versus “Arab haters” and your responsibilities.

  • The Arab world has 76.9% literacy rate where for 100 literate men there are 69 literate women. Israel has 95.4% literacy rate, with equal literacy between men and women.
  • In the Arab world, women are still constitutionally denied equal opportunity. In Israel, they are not. 
  • In the entire Arab world, for 400 million people we have had 6 Nobel Prize Laureates (two of whom, Sadat and Arafat, have shared it with Israelis.) In Israel, for 7 million people, you have had 10 Nobel Prize Laureates (including Begin and Rabin.) Now you do the comparative math since you’re obviously way better at it. 
  • In the Arab world, 19 of the 22 Arab League countries are ranked in the lowest range “red zone” of the Democracy Index , i.e. in the “authoritarian regimes” zone, within the same range as North Korea. Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine are the only three who ranked a bit higher as ‘hybrid democracies’ with Lebanon being the leading scorer. Yet Lebanon is still ranked at #94 in the world with a low democratic score of 5 over 10. Israel ranks 36 in the world with a score of 7.8 less than 1 point away from being considered a “full democracy”, a title given to only 25 countries in the world which also happen to be the most developed countries of the world.
  • The Arab world has the highest rate of unemployment among youth in the entire world. The average unemployment in the Arab region is 14.4%, compared with 7% in Israel and 6.3% for the rest of the world. (FYI, Gaza is at 37.8% unemployment and West Bank at 17.2%)
  • Approximately 5,000 books are published annually in Israel. In the entire Arab world, it accounts for less than that. The average person in the Arab world reads no more than four pages a year according to a UN survey of 2008. And get this: the total number of books translated into Arabic during the 1,000 years since the age of 9th century Caliph Al-Ma’moun to this day is less than those translated in Spain in one year. World Press. 
  • Finally, the GDP of Israel alone is greater than that of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq combined. That’s 7 million Israelis generating more money than 68 million Levantine/Mesopotamian peeps. The only other region of the world with an income level lower than ours is sub-Saharan Africa (yes and we have oil). 

Now you tell me, which is more dangerous: an Israeli hater or an Arab hater? … Unfortunately for us, an Israeli hater is far more vicious by all shots and all standards because there is nothing more dangerous than a hateful, violent educated person as there is nothing you can say to that person anymore. There is nothing more dangerous than hatred that is bred in a thriving, developed environment like the Israeli one; whereas hatred in a harsh, sadistic environment (like the Arabic one) is only normal.

In the Arab world, we don’t have the same tools to resort to when we have a conundrum or a problem to solve. We don’t have the same freedoms, the same hopes, the same defenses you have. We don’t vote our laws, we don’t vote our leaders, we don’t have job opportunities, we are not educated, our women suffer from gender inequalities, our governance is plagued with corruption and nepotism, and the world doesn’t grant us visas because other countries qualify us as “high security risks” at all their borders. The world, as well as you, cannot expect from us what should be expected from you.

We are doing our best to get better, starting with gaining freedoms and respect. Have you seen the recent surge of Arab spring? What do you think this is? Some masochistic dudes who like to get their teeth smashed, their nails pulled out and their bodies mutilated just for the fun of it? No. It is the Arab world’s gamble at freedom, something that you guys never have to gamble for anymore.

We are not equal. And therefore, our blames are not equal. Our faults are not equal. And our mistakes are certainly not equal. Your responsibilities are bigger, and your stakes are higher; and as such, an Israeli hater should be made unacceptable and unjustifiable in your society.

So revoke that role. Acknowledge your incredible responsibility. And when you finally do that, maybe less people will want to throw rockets on Israel, and finally righteous peace may ensue.

3) To group number 3: The nice Israelis, or the ones who liked and shared the post in positive light

For those who wrote in Hebrew, it took me a while to decipher some of your words as Google Translate always leaves out one damn keyword in Hebrew which renders the entire message cryptic. Like: “Hey guys, read this! She makes a טוב point!” Yeah. Thanks Google.

Well it turns out some of you are funny. And I just want to say thank you. I appreciate that. In fact, believe me, we all appreciate that.

People like you are the only ones who may be able to mobilize some serious change in order for some humorous peace to ensue. I hope you affect your compatriots into adopting your positive behaviors, and may people like you reach leadership positions, and spread goodness around them. I wish you guys all the best.

V. To world friends who liked and shared the post: 
Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Asians, Persians, Turks, Latinos, Africans, Australians. Thank you. Perhaps you have good Arab friends, or perhaps you appreciate culinary history, or maybe you just enjoyed my post, in all cases, your involvement in the virulence of the thread is much appreciated. I hope you know that your educated judgments and opinions on the situation of the Arab world will be the main catalysts for peace in our region… May you always remain our friends, and keep an eye and your heart on us.

VI. To my three brothers: Nothing. Just wanna tell everyone I have three mighty brothers… you know, just in case.

VII. To Mom: For someone who is new to social media, you have managed to garner the highest number of likes on your comments. And may I add that 95% of them are people who have never met you (or me). You are the one that is larger than life, not me, for your heart and soul are both worth their weight in cosmic splendidness. And if I end up having 10% of that, then I might as well be the luckiest girl in the world.

VIII. To Dad who was confused by the number of people asking him for his opinion on the Israeli Gas Station: I will send you the post by fax.

IX. To me: Onwards.

Written by Sara El-Yafi


  1. Sam Wahab · November 14, 2012

    So this is what VICTORY looks like!! It’s INSANE how one post made such an huge impact and a statement. Way to go Sara! This is a great way to start your presidential campaign 😉 Oh and AGAIN: YOU SHOULD BLOG! 🙂

  2. Majd S · November 14, 2012

    Good going Sara………. MUCHHH RESPECT!!!!

  3. Firas El Yafi · November 14, 2012

    what did they say about your family?

    • Sara El-Yafi · November 14, 2012

      LOL Firassooooo.. They said “who is that handsome man in the middle? We don’t have anyone that handsome around here”

  4. Omar Sadek · November 14, 2012


  5. Rami Harawi · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sara!

  6. Scott P. Korda · November 14, 2012

    Congrats Sara 🙂 i had actualyl printed out the original post when you put it up to read carefuly! didnt know it had such an impact! 🙂

  7. Olivier Ceberio · November 14, 2012

    So proud of you 🙂

  8. Poly Maroun Matta · November 14, 2012

    Was not aware of this, until Sam Wahab shared it. but I have just read everything in the description, and I must say its so wonderfully refreshing to hear this and the outcome and the way it was handled. Thank you for being active on social media and speaking up, you have encouraged individuals that don’t necessarily have ‘fans’ to speak out with the hope of it making a difference or raising awareness, I salute you mexican lebanese – Poly x

  9. Nada Abdelnour · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sara! This is awesome 🙂 xxx

  10. Mona Tareh Sahouri · November 14, 2012

    Love it !!!! Congratulations !!! Onwards 🙂

  11. Zina Sawaf · November 14, 2012

    excellent ! 🙂 I look forward to seeing a picture of the Arab Mezze Station 🙂

  12. Farah Shoucair · November 14, 2012

    looooooooool “But this is what YOU did: Hummus=Typical Arabic Levantine dish –> Put Israeli flag on it –> Israeli Hummus! “

  13. Farah Shoucair · November 14, 2012

    I suggest a stand-up comedy show titled “Israeli (Con)Fusion”

  14. Riad Arslan · November 14, 2012

    I don’t know who you are.. Or where you come from…. But I have to say I just couldn’t stop thinking how brave and honest you are. Sam wahab (couz) thanks for sharing…. It was a breath of fresh air.

  15. Mohamed Mirza · November 14, 2012

    I’m simply proud of you! I didn’t know about the original post until now…but you have both my thumbs up!!

  16. Michel Wehbe · November 14, 2012

    Sara how many toulit beil courses have you taken in Harvard?! respect woman! respect!

  17. Robert Nammour · November 14, 2012

    holy crap. longest facebook post i have ever read (or glanced through, to be completely honest!). But, definitely a major high five to you for this!

  18. Larine Hammoud · November 14, 2012

    Soooo proud of you darling!!

  19. Kais Al Naamani · November 14, 2012


  20. Aya Elwadia · November 14, 2012

    Yes. What happens when we all pool together and voice our frustration in a very educated way – thank you Sara El-Yafi!
    Now, lets get down to business and liberate Palestine.

  21. Yasmine Mehio · November 14, 2012

    I read about this on tumblr. I am so glad this has ended the way it has. I don’t know you but for some reason I am so proud of you!! Now if only this Facebook app would let me share instead of just reporting the post as spam…

  22. Vassilis Wise Loutzakis · November 14, 2012

    Sara, you could try the direct approach as people normally do, go and complain to the manager :p

    It’s amazing what a big impact had this post of yours and more important than the post Itself was the discussion that followed among people all over the world which was constructive and very interesting to read.

    They say the most important decisions are being taken during a lunch or a dinner, so food has always been significant and each country’s food’s origins are part of Its history, so It is a big deal although It may not seem so at first glance. And you don’t have to be an Arab to be moved by this sensitive subject.

    Plus, the Dean’s response implied how right you were to bring this subject up and I’m glad It was clarified.

    I’m always proud of you and I’ll always be, keep up Sara being as amazing as you are 😀

    • Rudolph Elias · November 14, 2012

      Vassilis, next time, you and I should make sure go “complain to the manager” BEFORE the news reaches Sara 🙂

  23. Gabriel Kuris · November 14, 2012

    Best thing I’ve read about the Middle East, or food, in a long time. Beautiful in both style and sentiment.

  24. Emad Rajaie · November 14, 2012

    Like I always said: Sara “ma fee minna”!

  25. Caity Bolton · November 14, 2012

    Awesome Sara!!!!

  26. Fouad Dajani · November 14, 2012

    Sara- this is a fantastic achievement. You should seriously feel very proud. What you have done is clearly demonstrate (albeit on a smaller scale) how we, as Arabs, should tackle the various injustices on our doorstep. Your response was eloquent, humorous and damning all at the same time- a lethal cocktail!! I wish there were more like you- pls stay active! 🙂

  27. Antoun Halabi · November 14, 2012

    Raw3a Basbas !! my personal favorites by order: 1- “Thank you for the coverage, my mother appreciates it.”; 2- “But this is what YOU did: Hummus=Typical Arabic Levantine dish –> Put Israeli flag on it –> Israeli Hummus! Not gonna work.” and 3- “feel free to mash the chickpeas then shove the couscous in there, drench it with olive oil then top it with matzah balls and call it Israeli matzah ball-maftoul.”… love the flow and conclusions, no criticism, just love 🙂

  28. Mazen Tayara · November 14, 2012

    RESPEKT! Well done Sara, totally agree with every word above!

  29. Hoda Selim · November 14, 2012

    i have been missing out on a lot of what s going on on your wall. Well done as always!

  30. Rida Mawla · November 14, 2012

    Funny. Witty. Smart. Brilliant! All I can say is an honest and sincere thank you.

  31. Malik Shishtawi · November 14, 2012

    Dear Sara,

    This is the power of Social Media.. & if you allow me, I would really love to feature this story in our next event (3rd Arab Social Media Forum) in Amman Dec. 15th 2012. to show people how this can be effective from two sides, your action & HBS reaction

    Malik Shishtawi
    Founder & President
    Arab Social Media Forum

  32. Nour Abdo Abi Nader · November 14, 2012

    The world definitely needs more of you

  33. Omar Mukhtar Khan · November 14, 2012

    Wow Sara! Impressive!

  34. Judy Barrage · November 14, 2012

    Good girl! Proud of u!!!

  35. Johara Bouchama · November 14, 2012

    I ♥ U

  36. Sawsan Kassaa · November 14, 2012


  37. Manal Ghandour · November 14, 2012

    Sara we need you as a leader in the Arab world!

  38. May Habbab · November 14, 2012

    يا سارة يا جدعة…يا سارة يا حلوة…يا سارة يا حبيبة قلبي….

  39. Abdallah Jabbour · November 14, 2012

    Sara El-Yafi! Just when I was about to declare this post gem of all gems, pride of the Arab world, beacon for mankind…Just when I was about to proclaim it the best thing that’s happened to humanity since Israeli mezze…Just when I was about to print it (in color) and hang it on my 1927 Ford with that photo of you striking a comfortable pose in the air *while* turning your face to the camera…I saw THE deadly sentence. “Harvard Business School is the world’s leading business school”? The school that gave humanity George W. Bush?? I would like to see the world respond to that 🙂 (PS: I still think your mom is adorable)

  40. Dana Alasker · November 14, 2012

    awww yeahhhh

  41. Yasmine Mikati · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sara! I am a bit disappointed you didn’t ask them to eat the f.. COOKIE! It was a thread about food 🙁

  42. Chantal Estephane · November 14, 2012

    Wowww! And thank you!

  43. Mounir Doumani · November 14, 2012

    devoured every single word of it…great reply (and it is clear the math is average 🙂 once you apply the growth rate to a population you do not need to subtract mortalities, this gives them a couple hundred thousand more but nothing that changes the big picture)

    As for the comment to the “haters” read it carefully. I just think you are crediting some people(few that dared to comment but in reality many?)much more than they deserve or actually you are proving there is no correlation (maybe even negative) between economic development and “human(e)” development which is something to reflect on beyond the Arab-Israeli conflict

  44. Edward Gerges · November 14, 2012

    Sure, “Mediterranean Mezze” is fairer than “Israeli Mezze”, but until there is such a thing as “arab”, lets avoid basketing eggs with dates… There is no such thing as “arab” or “arab world”, and probably never will be

  45. Samar Al Moukayed · November 14, 2012

    so proud of u Sara …we def need more people like u around ..ppl nowadays r selfish and only look after themselves and only do things that would benefit them as individuals..they wouldn’t even go through the hassle of addressing such issues and rather ignore hats off girl….hope ur well xx

  46. Loulwa Rahbani · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sara!!! What a great initiative you have taken, what a viral response you’ve received, and what a sublime way of tackling such a sensitive issue; you make every educated, exposed, tolerant and Arab person PROUD.

  47. Samah Abu-Ghazaleh · November 14, 2012

    great news Sara :)))

  48. Maria Ar · November 14, 2012

    This is one of the best posts I have ever read on Facebook! The initiative you took is great but the splendid intelligent and funny way with which you tackled the issue is simply impressive. I am glad we have some acquaintances in common to have been able to read this!

  49. Farrah Jarral · November 14, 2012

    So funny, so brilliant. I love you.

  50. Ali Nemati · November 14, 2012

    You are an amazingly courageous and brilliant human being!! You make everyone proud. Must also mention that you are a wonderful writer.

  51. Rania Hibri · November 14, 2012

    i do not know u sara!! but i have 2 tell u that this is one of the best posts i have read on facebook !! great job

  52. Filipp Brunshteyn · November 14, 2012

    Sara, I think this is great. I don’t really understand the spillover into Israeli-Arab politics and anti-Israel rhetoric, though. RA / HBS made a mistake, you eloquently called them out on it while offering context. They fixed it. Should be the end of story. Instead, this is turning out to be: “I saw “Israeli Mezze Station” in the cafeteria. That sucks and I want it fixed. While we are on this topic, did I mention that they also stole our land and our culture?” One issue at a time, please :).

  53. Elie Gemayel · November 14, 2012

    We’re really proud of you!

  54. Mahmoud El Khoja · November 14, 2012

    An amazing post and initiative. You don’t know me but I sure have heard of you because of it. My grin became larger and larger with every word I was reading. One criticism though: I didn’t really understand the point of comparing Israel’s and Arab’s socio-economic development stages and how it relates to the way each party should respond. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but it sounded to me like a typical and unnecessary apology for Arab helplessness.

    Other than that, spotless writing! 🙂

  55. Dima El Machnouk · November 14, 2012

    akh shou b7ebbik!! Great post Sarsour ♥

  56. Zeina Roueiheb · November 14, 2012

    OMG Sara!!! I dont know you but boy I wish I did!!! What an amazing writer you are and what an amazing thinker and what a beautiful, beautiful human being!!!!!!

  57. Lina M. Neal · November 14, 2012

    Well Done!

  58. Elise Burton · November 14, 2012

    Congratulations! I am happy to see this, although as an anti-Zionist academic who studies the Mizrahi experience in Israel, I am a bit disappointed that when faced with the discussion of Arab Jews, which could have been a great “teaching moment” on cultural appropriation, you chose instead to marginalize their presence and experience in Israel. I don’t want to deconstruct your argument on what is really a celebratory thread (though, as a business student, I’m sure you know that just fudging some stats from CBS wouldn’t reflect a complex demographic and social history? 🙂 ) but couldn’t you instead use your very influential voice to point out that the suffering and cultural appropriation of Arab Jewish culture by Ashkenazim in Israel is just as much an indictment of Zionism as the Nakba is? I think it’s in the interest of the anti-Zionist cause to include all of the stories of cultural erasure involved here…
    and lest I be accused of “concern trolling” or something, let me invoke the godly name of my friend Sa’ed to confirm that I’m not! Congrats again!

  59. Nadim Itani · November 14, 2012

    A brilliant post, initially triggered by a somewhat anecdotal situation… Smart, constructive, insightful and above all very humorous! Take the time to read through!

  60. Zeid Tawil · November 14, 2012

    that facts have been set straight!!!!

  61. Ali Al-Khalil · November 14, 2012

    a must must must read!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. Aaron Gjellstad · November 14, 2012

    Great story regarding a poorly devised (and outright offensive) food station at HBS and an alumni’s voice/movement to overturn it. Plus intelligent content in the follow-up. Everything I would expect from you, Sara El-Yafi!

  63. Serge Chehab · November 14, 2012

    A Must Read !!!!! – Respects Sara El-Yafi, again and again… !!!

  64. Mariam Malik Alsikafi · November 14, 2012

    You may agree, you may not agree but please read. Noone wants haters on any side, Harvard Business School leads for a reason and Dean Nohria is a prince among men. Sara El-Yafi may this debate be irrelevant tomorrow because we can all agree and fuse! and even then may future generations be better than ours!

    • Suzie Afridi · November 14, 2012

      I had a dinner party the other day. I served traditional Palestinian salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley). A guest exclaimed: “I loved the Israeli salad the most”. I was gonna throw her out the window Mossad style but I contained myself and had an Arab tantrum instead. Steal the land, ok, but our food is all we have left. The only Palestinian dish Israelis haven’t stolen and claimed as theirs is Mulukhiyyeh (green slimy soup). There must be no nutritional benefits to it. Having said all this: I hope someone turns the play Food and Fadwa into a brilliant movie.

    • Brendan McGeever · November 14, 2012

      There would be way more outrage if the world saw the opulence of Spangler.

    • Masood Alexander Razaq · November 15, 2012

      Nice. Although taking stuff from Arabs and calling it Israeli has worked pretty well for Israelis to date. Take our land, our homes, destroy our olive groves. Kick us out. Occupy us. Build walls. But DON’T mess with our hummus.

    • Mariam Malik Alsikafi · November 15, 2012

      Masood Hummusgate – I love it! Brendan, seriously! Those leather couches!!

  65. Amer Ghanem · November 14, 2012

    This is one very very nice piece of work. @sara El-yafi is and example of a well educated, well informed, and well spoken Arab who will eventually do great things… Well, she goes to HBS 🙂

  66. Zeina Saab · November 14, 2012

    Simply brilliant…. another hit, Sara!!

  67. Kawthar Fahs · November 14, 2012

    just read the whole post keep it up, this made me feel proud too

    • Areej Saeb · November 14, 2012

      Great. similar at my university (the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) , there was a wall, inside the international students school, where is written “Israeli food”, with that list, when most of them are actually Lebanese food.. Simply, I took a pen, and wrote: “it’s not Israeli, it’s Lebanese” still it’s there, they could not take it away 😀

  68. Rima Abed · November 14, 2012

    Im proud of you Cuz 🙂 Sara El-Yafi

  69. Jacob Kureh · November 14, 2012


  70. Karim Najjar · November 14, 2012

    Sara El-Yafi – you rock!

  71. Anthony Haddad · November 14, 2012

    Amazing work, and very funny

  72. Khalil Tayara · November 14, 2012

    I love your post! Entertaining, funny and thought provoking!

  73. Sarah S · November 14, 2012

    Pure genius! Very clever girl!

  74. Nour Awad · November 14, 2012


  75. Liliane Mia Khoury · November 14, 2012

    We couldnt expect any less from you sara, bravo! 🙂

  76. Nadyn Kesserwany · November 14, 2012

    What u started and accomplished is amazing…

  77. Jean-Pierre Habis · November 14, 2012

    Great job! Respect!!

  78. Caroline Schmutte · November 14, 2012

    So proud of you!

  79. Serge Wehbe · November 14, 2012

    Respect, whoever you are! 🙂

  80. Dala Farouki Kakos · November 14, 2012


  81. Nour Al Hmoud · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sarah!

  82. Nadim Itani · November 14, 2012

    Truly brilliant Sara!

  83. Mohamed El Dahshan · November 14, 2012


  84. Firas Abilmona · November 14, 2012

    Loooool looool go go Fadzzzzz. I don’t wanna have a debate with you ever bro. Missed you

    • Firas Abilmona · November 14, 2012

      Lol i thought it was you, didn’t noticed on the phone that it was Sara so the reply goes to her

  85. Lara Asad · November 14, 2012


  86. Taghreed H. · November 14, 2012

    Super like 🙂

  87. Ola Mahmoud · November 14, 2012

    Thank u … Proud

  88. Vira Ameli · November 14, 2012

    Honest, brilliant, and moving! I deeply respect and admire you for this post.

  89. Ingrid Abu Ata Pfeilsticker · November 14, 2012

    Super!!! Love it!

  90. Sami Simreen · November 14, 2012

    So much respect!! It is people like you that give the arab world and the World hope for peace and improvement. As a fellow palestinian, i thank you!!

  91. Eli Ray · November 14, 2012

    this food existed in the levant i:e Lebanon Syrian and Palestine before the arab conquests so it would also be unfair to call it “Arab” Mezze….the proper name would be Either Middle Eastern or Levantine food. Pan Arabism is as mythological as Zionism, as so called educated “Arabs” you should be able to acknowledge that the peoples of the middle east are diverse and mixed…no one is 100 percent Arab or Hebrew or Greek.

  92. Tanya Salem · November 14, 2012

    Dont know u but THANK YOU!!

  93. Zeid Tawil · November 14, 2012

    well done !!! thanks again Sara 🙂

  94. Ali Al-Khalil · November 14, 2012


  95. Tracy Aboujaoude Rizk · November 14, 2012

    You go girl!!!!!! Amazing!!!!

  96. Lara Anabtawi-Alami · November 14, 2012

    Your post oozes with eloquence, balanced arguments and a true understanding of our plight. I do hope that your plans involve your voice being heard across the globe. It would be a real shame, even a crime for it not to be. We have all been yearning for decades for a voice such as yours as we shamefully hear and watch our leaders and spokespeople shred our hopes and dreams to pieces by bellowing out incomprehensible arguments, illogical suggestions and irrational “solutions”. Mark Zuckerberg’s is just one of dozens of platforms that would welcome your uniquely refreshing and intelligent approach. I truly hope our paths cross one day. It would be an absolute honour to meet you and fan some zaatar together.

  97. Ibrahim AlHusseini · November 14, 2012

    Thank for potency, eloquence, humor and inclusionary tone (not a word, yet). I am glad this went viral to the extent that it did, not so much for the Palestinian/Israeli issue, but because of the model of debate that you exposed so many to. Consider blogging for Middle Eastern audience as the region can use more exposure to firm but disarming, well-researched and light hearted debate. Kudos

  98. Mariam Malik Alsikafi · November 14, 2012

    Sara send me your address – I am sending my daughter to you.

  99. Louay Samadi · November 14, 2012

    Omg I love this post

  100. Najwan Sholi · November 14, 2012

    Keep the voice alive 🙂

  101. Mohammad Hajjiri · November 14, 2012


  102. Hanin Khawaja · November 14, 2012

    Hi , I dont know you but i was tempted to post 🙂 Both your posts have put a huge smile on my face and i just wanted to take a moment to thank you. Please allow me to repost your comment back to you ‘may you and people like you reach leadership positions, and spread goodness around them.’ – Individuals like you are both rare and unique.

  103. Ali Khilji · November 14, 2012

    well done ….

  104. Mohammad Halawani · November 14, 2012

    That’s truly Honoring and exemplary what you did – Mohammad.

  105. Ghaith Yafi · November 14, 2012

    Sarsoura I love your outspoken courage and creativity and am so happy you’ve inspired so many people…very very proud of you !

  106. Margaux McDonald · November 14, 2012

    Nice job Sara!

  107. David Faguer · November 14, 2012

    Et la pizza a l ananas?… Personne n en parle mais c est un sujet important!

  108. Burhan Kamal · November 14, 2012

    Thank you

  109. Mohamad Kabbani · November 14, 2012

    U Rock

  110. Ismat Mahmassani Malas · November 14, 2012

    Bravo Sara!!!!

  111. Maysoon Sleiman · November 14, 2012

    Well Said – Well Written – Thank you Sara for speaking out, may we all take note!

  112. Kunal Adnani · November 14, 2012

    Umm just a menu?

  113. Leen Za · November 14, 2012

    I’m SO glad to see that out of sharing something on FB, change was able to be made, you’re response was great. Keep up the great work, fighting the good and important fights when they need to be fought and not just sitting and complaining. You have a new fan 🙂

  114. Anthony E. Naoum · November 14, 2012

    Beyond impressive….. such an inspiration! Very well said Ms. El-Yafi. Often I wonder, are we alone, is anyone listening, can we discuss this??? Like most of you, I find myself making similar points, taking similar stands, battling similar stereotypes, BUT unable to change a thing. On behalf of the community, THANK YOU, thank you for proving our generation is one worth including and not segregating. Maybe there is hope for our sake, and the sake of our children and generations to come. Life is better lived, so lets all CHOOSE LIFE. We all deserve the opportunity to have freedom, equality, and the right to live regardless of color, ethnicity, religion, or gender. CHOOSE LIFE NOT HATE!!! TALK NOT KILL!!! LAUGH NOT FIGHT!!! God speed sister, and may we all find peace and happiness in this world as ONE community.

  115. Moe Dabbous · November 14, 2012


  116. Leslie Woo · November 14, 2012

    But… WHERE are you now??

  117. Hussein Allie · November 14, 2012

    we need a few more sara el-yafis in this world !! f***ing inspiring article !

  118. Moe Dabbous · November 14, 2012

    Just In: Israel has claimed falafil Sahyoun an israeli franchise serving authentic israeli sandwiches! (loool ba3id na2is) :p

  119. Randa Hilal · November 14, 2012

    You make me proud to be as an Arab women…..Great reasoning and well spoken…Allah Ma3ek…

  120. Robert Nammour · November 14, 2012

    (really, reall) long read. But (mostly) interesting and (definitely) worth it.

  121. Tarek Naaman · November 14, 2012

    good stuff!

    • Mansour Azar · November 14, 2012

      i didnt read the whole thing, but i ll take your word for it Naaman the eldest!

      • Tarek Naaman · November 14, 2012

        Mansour defnitely the longest facebook post ever! you can read it in more than one session if you want 🙂

        • Marina Chamma · November 14, 2012

          Another social media success story! (and another Lebanese world record for the longest post as you point out :P)

  122. Nisreen Al-Baroudi · November 14, 2012

    This is just awesome. Thanks for sharing

  123. Jad Jalloul · November 14, 2012

    An educated Arab using social media and rhetoric to defend her point of view without the need for violence. I respect you for that Sara El Yafi.

  124. Nick Noureddine · November 14, 2012

    In 1984 I was working in a Lebanese restaurant in tempe, AZ while going to college, one day I had just opened for lunch, a man walks in and asks me if we have Isgaili food, I said what’s Israeli food, he said Khommos, Falafel, Tabbouleh, I looked at him and said you took the land you might as well take the food, we have Lebanese food here, no Isgaili food, he flipped me off and left

  125. Hussam Fatahalla · November 14, 2012

    Now how about that 🙂

  126. Mahmoud Abdelnabi · November 14, 2012

    A must read…Young Arab girl managed to make HSB lords apologize for the whole Arab for a

  127. Ruba Squires · November 14, 2012

    very cool

  128. Jad Rad · November 14, 2012

    I am glad the right thing was done here.

  129. ElGhareeb Gedeed · November 14, 2012

    I had just shared the original letter on this topic like 20 minutes ago 🙂

  130. Tamim Sherif · November 14, 2012

    THIS IS MUST READ!!! As my friend Riad Arslan said it. This is a breath of fresh air. Sam thank you for sharing this. To the person who started this Sara el Yafi, you are a great and i am glad and honored you represented us Arabs in such a diplomatic, smart, funny and detailed way. Beautiful

  131. Basma AbdelSater · November 14, 2012

    Must Read !!
    Chapeau Bas !!

  132. Roy Saab · November 14, 2012

    Now, there’s a good read.

  133. Ahmad Saleh · November 14, 2012

    A humorous and dead-serious post that I stumbled on. From a not so Israeli-mezze station to the what-to-do with the Isreali-Arab conflict!

  134. Nada Mohamed · November 14, 2012

    this is worth reading

  135. Darah Rateb · November 14, 2012

    Who would’ve thought facebook could change the menu!

  136. Lamia Husseiny · November 14, 2012

    It is but a simple proof that is we agree to unite and lobby for a good cause without being offensive and disrespectful. If you knew our rights and defended them well. If we know our history well and build our cases right we can make a difference!

  137. Tova Scherr · November 14, 2012

    Case closed. Impressive work, Sara! And of course, El Dahshan, leave it to an Egyptian to share a picture which causes a SM super-storm…

  138. Badr Soukarie · November 14, 2012

    Well done

  139. Shahid Azam · November 14, 2012

    Brilliant!!!! Must read!!!!

  140. Iftikhar Kaawache · November 14, 2012

    بكفيش سرقوووو بلادنا كمان بدهم يسرقو أكلاتنا الله ياخذهم؟؟؟

  141. Wissam El Cheikh Hassan · November 14, 2012

    One of the greatest things I have ever read in a while. Truly inspirational!

  142. Tarek Beainy · November 14, 2012

    interesting read !!

  143. Maysoon Sleiman · November 14, 2012

    Must Read.

  144. Mizanur Rahman · November 14, 2012

    This is probably the most significant post (and highly effective) I have ever come across on FB or anyone else has for tht matter. Highly RECOMMENDED READING! Sara ROCKS! Salutes to her 🙂

  145. Samir Wahab · November 14, 2012

    Facebook Wall Exclusive: 4,000+ likes and 3,000+ shares later… I present to you the epic conclusion to Sara El-Yafi’s post about the “Israeli Mezze Station”. Much Respect.

  146. Ahmad Ismail AlHusseini · November 14, 2012

    Great outcome and a wonderful writing…
    A MUST READ for the open-minded…

  147. Hussein Itany · November 14, 2012

    Proud to have such great Lebanese ambassadors abroad 🙂
    Respect Sara El-Yafi

    • Colin Manasse · November 14, 2012

      because that is what will make the world a better place: less communication, less understanding, more segregation, more animosity… maybe not…

    • Jad Jalloul · November 14, 2012

      Keep up the good rhetoric sara el yafi. 🙂

  148. Lausanne M. · November 14, 2012

    Half way through it and im Laughing my ass off – to be continued; Chapeau Sara El-Yafi “Although some of the articles missed the humor, some made it sound like we were angry because someone died in our hummus”

  149. Jehane Abdel Barry · November 14, 2012

    I really enjoyed reading this.

  150. Farah Shoucair · November 14, 2012

    Chapeau bas Sara El-Yafi!

  151. Marwa Abou Dayya · November 14, 2012

    Proud of you Sara El-Yafi as always!
    Thank you 🙂

    • Alison Smith Marriott · November 14, 2012

      Love it. Just goes to show that diplomacy can start anywhere- and often the most effective, albeit small dialogues, are the ones which garner positive attention and action. Makes me miss Chania, beach side chats over Mythos, philosophical and religious debates on the steps of the Parthenon and all of those I shared the experience with!

  152. AlBustan Staff · November 14, 2012

    an encouraging conclusion…read it!

  153. Samar Al Moukayed · November 14, 2012

    Respect Sara El-Yafi

  154. Sonia Kolahi Amirian · November 14, 2012

    They looked pretty stupid in front of the world’s eyes… Bravo Harvard !

  155. Manal Ghandour · November 14, 2012

    this person will definetly make a change in the Arab world! Sara you are just amazing, we need you as a leader here in Lebanon!

  156. Stephanie Nicole Lee · November 14, 2012

    Wow, brilliant!!

  157. Linda Halabi · November 14, 2012

    One more reason Harvard Business School is awesome!! They actually apologized and are going to change.

  158. Mounir Maurice · November 14, 2012

    Follow-up on the story!! good job Sara!!

  159. Mohamed El Dahshan · November 14, 2012

    I am really, really amused that an out-of-focus photo I took and posted while eating an overpriced salad at the HBS dining room did the rounds like this. Whaddayaknow, social media works, and all.

    Thanks Sara El-Yafi for putting the right text and humour to it, and for sharing more aggressively (uhumm) than I ever would have!

    • Omar Hussein Shoeb · November 14, 2012

      She’s incredible! I also loved her writing style, articulate to say the least!

    • Benji Lovitt · November 14, 2012

      Don’t have energy to read that whole thing but that seems pretty fair. I think most Israelis agree that “our cousins” make chumus better than we do. : )

    • Sameer H. Doshi · November 14, 2012

      I liked Sara’s exposition of the origin of those foods, but I note that the invention of all those foods probably pre-dates the 20th-century creation of the current political entities known as Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, etc.

      The menu’s silent implication, as interpreted by some, that Israel has the exclusive or best claim to certain foods is certainly wrong. On the other hand, Lebanon/Syria does not have an exclusive claim to hummus (or baklava, yabrak, kusa mahshi, etc.) either: Persians, Turks, Greeks, Armenians, etc. all think these foods belong to them. Perhaps to avoid ruffling feathers, the cafeteria should have featured “Israeli food” one day and “Lebanese food” the next, likely with substantial overlap.

      In Tokyo, the best falafel/hummus joint this half-Lebanese guy knows (at least, it was the last time I was there 11 years ago) is run by an Israeli Jewish dude.

    • Brendan Luecke · November 14, 2012

      Too funny

    • Mirna Bamieh · November 15, 2012


    • Pakinam Lights · November 15, 2012

      wow, small actions, big influence. bravo x

  160. Sharif Elzein · November 14, 2012

    Palestinian-Israeli must read

  161. Areeb Zuaiter · November 14, 2012

    That is great!

  162. Dany Deaïbess · November 14, 2012

    If we all have the same mentality and the respectful way to react on such a thing Our world and country will be much better.
    W bel mounesabe I will call all metal heads to take these people as an example in how we should handle our current situation peace 😀 \m/

  163. Mohammad Hamad · November 14, 2012


  164. E. Gemayel · November 14, 2012

    Made us proud Sarah! Amazingly proud

  165. Nadim Hussami · November 14, 2012

    The most hilarious and tongue-in-check tirade concerning Arab-Israeli relations that I’ve ever come across. For something originally posted as a passing observation, it’s quite brilliant.

  166. Rafe Mraish · November 14, 2012

    something to be proud of…

  167. Joudie Kalla · November 14, 2012

    Persistence and knowledge is key!

  168. Omar Adi · November 14, 2012

    Proud of you Sara

  169. Hama Hinnawi · November 14, 2012

    Isn’t this simply AMAZING !!

  170. Maryanne Stroud Gabbani · November 14, 2012

    I saw the first post and frankly thought “Good Luck”! But it looks like sometimes things do work out well.

  171. Daphne Demos · November 14, 2012

    an interesting read, humorous

  172. Majed Mahfouz · November 15, 2012

    beautiful case study… well done 🙂

  173. Nadim Ghantous · November 15, 2012

    Brilliant and so nicely written….

  174. Ghassan Kiwan · November 15, 2012

    Nice bravo sara say hello to Aref

  175. Hollie Ghandour · November 15, 2012

    it sais it all 🙂

  176. Nadim Haddad · November 15, 2012

    Big kudos for my friend Sara El-Yafi for finally bringing this “food war” with Israel to an end… where we win of course! 😉

  177. Nay Rouhban · November 15, 2012

    Sara El-Yafi kicking ass!!!

  178. Natasha Noueiri · November 15, 2012

    Well done Sara El-Yafi

  179. Nadine Mneimneh · November 15, 2012

    A lire ! Bravo Sara El-Yafi

  180. Petro Hajj · November 15, 2012

    You just made my night 😀

  181. Omar J. Habib · November 15, 2012

    Again thank you for your knowledge and mastery of the english language. Thank you for Spreading

  182. Talal Hajjar · November 15, 2012

    amazing article… bravo and wish you all the best

  183. Muhannad Tahboub · November 15, 2012

    That’s the Arab spring.. Not the BS happening here.. Best of luck.

  184. Caline Aoun · November 15, 2012

    Absolute star * 🙂

  185. Abdallah Yafi · November 15, 2012

    You are such an inspiration to all of us… so proud of u

  186. Elvire Ayoub · November 15, 2012

    Thumbs up!!!!

  187. Zaid El-Abed · November 15, 2012

    bravo 3aleyki! 😀 beautiful

  188. Malake Anouti · November 15, 2012

    This. Is great!

  189. Laila Kromer · November 15, 2012

    Well done!!

  190. Noora NaNo · November 15, 2012

    wow’ed by this story! so much to learn and so much WIN!

  191. Voula Simhairi · November 15, 2012

    Ive never met you. But i think i love you.

  192. Alaa Abu Obeid · November 15, 2012


  193. Lama Ounsi · November 15, 2012

    I think everybody is wowed and/or speechless 🙂

  194. Joumana Fehmi · November 15, 2012

    WAW!!!!! simply chapeau!

  195. Haifa Shwaikani Takieddine · November 15, 2012

    Sara so proud of you….. You kick ass lol

  196. Fouad Dajani · November 15, 2012

    Sara… apparently you re an anti Israeli food fascist 😀 You gotta laugh!

  197. Nadim Abou-Chacra · November 15, 2012

    girl?….you rock!!!!! cheers

  198. Tala Mahfouz · November 15, 2012

    Bravo Sara. Very well done. Great command of English reveiling a great beautiful mind!
    You made a lot proud!

    Ps: been endlessly trying to call you, but always out of service!!!

  199. Roger Kanakri · November 15, 2012


  200. Kriks KrikOrian · November 15, 2012


  201. Suzanah Dibsi Banna · November 15, 2012


  202. Ziad Beydoun · November 15, 2012


  203. Amjád Atrásh · November 15, 2012

    Great job Sara…we need more of this awareness to protect our food, culture & heritage…

  204. Nabil Nawfal · November 15, 2012

    a piece of art!

  205. Mouzayan Al Khalil · November 15, 2012

    You don’t cease to amaze! I gave you a shout out on my fbook page. Keep up the trouble !

  206. Dala Badreddine · November 15, 2012

    This is insane. Good for you!!

  207. Maria Makhlouf · November 15, 2012

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T !!!!!

  208. Maysan Marouf · November 15, 2012

    amazing 🙂

  209. Nawal Fleihan · November 15, 2012

    Always fight for your rights…. Amazing Sara. we need more like you

  210. Rawan Omar Saab · November 15, 2012

    Congratulations, and thank you for speaking on behalf of all of those who did not have the right eloquence to defend themselves. Bravo!

  211. Muna Rabieh · November 15, 2012

    Sara I don’t know you but we definitely need more people like you in this world. Thank you for this!

  212. Hasan Jad Traboulsi · November 15, 2012

    What an amazing ,well structured and diplomatic argument. The Arab Nations need more of your kind. Congratulation to everyone who is part of this. Keep it up!

  213. Maya Mantach · November 15, 2012

    I like ur passion nd u obviously hv a lot to say. I was particularly interested in ur fact sheets this is wht I call real information. I salute ur delicate walk in diplomacy while attemptin to b firm bt ur principles.. This is a tough road to take nd it s a continuous training. Best.

  214. Rolf Dergham · November 15, 2012

    Next thing you know, they will steal the palestinian flag…! Unfortunately, nobody own these dishes, I believe, but that should not stop anyone from claiming ownership, and I also think they are much more Arabic, (Palestinian or other) then Israeli.

  215. Yorgos Klivo · November 15, 2012

    I shared the first one, this one was too long even to read… I stopped at “then he said”

  216. Tamim F Nehlawi · November 15, 2012

    I like what you did even I do not know you in person

  217. Dania Attoui · November 15, 2012

    Bravo Sara, que le monde arabe prenne exemple sur toi, et peut etre un jour, nous sortirons de ce cauchemar … Merci pour ta patience, ta motivation, ta tolerance et ton intelligence .. Qui sont bien les 3 choses don’t chaque arabe devrait se doter pr aller de l’avant. Merci Sara !

  218. Zak Siblini · November 15, 2012

    MyMeaL’Co… Mediterranean Yummi Meal – Live & Coexist… Copyright Zak Siblini

  219. Ronny Karam · November 15, 2012

    This is how you act when something is clearly wrong; burning tires never solved a problem.

  220. Shady El Kanaan · November 15, 2012

    Nice Work Sara El-Yafi 🙂

  221. Firas Oweis · November 15, 2012

    Good Job Sara!!! I followed this since day one… and didn’t expect such a reaction from any entity, not to mention HBS.

  222. Larissa Ajjawi · November 15, 2012


  223. Maria Frangieh · November 15, 2012


  224. Mohamed Farchoukh · November 15, 2012

    Read sarah’s approach!

  225. Maryanna Pond · November 15, 2012

    Read this if you haven’t seen it.

  226. Karim Jamal-Eddine · November 15, 2012

    the war between Israel and the Mediterranean countries didn’t end and will never end! If the military war is not going on strongly in all the Mediterranean countries, the cultural war is still going on. Israel is not fighting us just with weapons but also with our culture and tradition, as well as the Facebook page of the Israeli embassy in Lebanon that never existed! we can fight back by showing our disagreement.
    thank you!

  227. Jihad Karam · November 15, 2012

    Must READ!

  228. Jessica Packer · November 15, 2012

    To everyone who needs a brilliant read about peace in the Middle East, Food, Harvard Business School, social media, and other pearls of enlightenment, please read this fantastic post from start to finish – it gets better and better – smile, thank me, and share. I want to see MANY shares!!!!

  229. Tamer Abdelaal · November 15, 2012


  230. Mohamed Sultan · November 15, 2012


  231. Boutros Haddad · November 16, 2012

    A long read, but an excellent one. Please take the time to read it, share it, and hope the same concept applies to higher causes.

  232. Nedy Muna · November 16, 2012

    Worth Reading!

  233. Zeina Bridi · November 16, 2012

    Bravooo!!!! Harvard should be proud to have such a student!!! une belle leçon de civilité et de tolerance

  234. Irma Majdalani · November 16, 2012

    There you go.. VICTORY

  235. Irma Majdalani · November 16, 2012

    I have already called this resistance.. Now its victory

  236. Asad N M Awashra · November 16, 2012

    For those who haven realized how the Zionists to dis mental Arab and Palestinian culture see and read this , I know it is of no substance to current events but it worth to read and know that these small things are happening always and I would like to hear your feed back.

  237. Michelle Hijazi · November 16, 2012

    Read this. seriously, it’s very funny but it’s also inspiring and we need a little of that about now.

  238. Ramzi Joseph Kesrouany · November 16, 2012

    My Dear Sara,
    This is pure and utter class! I know your secrets thou, you used metaphysics argumentation on them and it worked!!!!
    On a more serious note, you make us all proud! hit the nail right on the head with your eloquence…

    All the love and keep up to good work!

  239. Haifa Cortbawi Ungapen · November 16, 2012

    Beyond the cause and the fact that you’ve taken the time to speak up and follow up on this and see it to the end, all of which is great… I’ve rarely enjoyed reading anyone’s words as much as I’ve enjoyed reading yours :oD

  240. Nadia Wouters · November 16, 2012

    How long did it take you to write this post?! 😉

  241. Ali Mohammad Badran · November 16, 2012

    Keep up the good work! Best regards from AUB

  242. Mira Zahlan Mouawad · November 17, 2012

    On behalf of all Lebanese thxs Sara

  243. Clara De Jesus · November 17, 2012

    Sent to me by a good friend:

    It seems land can be taken, stolen, and appropriated… but never culture, and especially not cuisine.

    I’ve been following closely this story below for obvious reasons. And it came to a conclusion coincidentally today, just as Israel launched yet another attack on Gaza. I’ve also chosen the Jerusalem Post as a reporting source about the issue at hand to preempt the usual responses I get about conspiracy theories.

    Take your time, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy.

  244. Keefak · November 17, 2012

    Defending Lebanese cuisine against Israeli assault! Bravo Sara El-Yafi for your boldness! We’re so proud of you! Cc LebGuide

  245. Basil Al-Azem · November 17, 2012

    Way to go Sara… that was very well done!

  246. Saria Mahassen · November 17, 2012

    We are proud of you!

  247. Farah Zahra · November 18, 2012

    “My WTF post before the weekend:
    B*tch please! When it comes to Hummus/Falafel NO ONE and I mean NO ONE can mess with the lebanese! Not even Harvard Business School!

    Nevertheless, this reflect how absurd and complicated the situation is in the middle east.. No one knows wtf is going on anymore..
    First, Arab spring believer were like gummy bears living in lala-land. First they were like Democracy Seekers Zombies and then BAM radical supposedly “Islamists” are running the place.
    Then back to the classic dish on the menu: Palestinian-Israeli conflict. War on Gaza? oh yeah let’s compare it with what’s going on in Syria this will make us look good in the media. People! wtf, you CANNOT compare wars! It’s like comparing 300 °C & 500 °C at some point they ALL burn like HELL! And for the international media: Don’t let a bunch of whack heads shooting home-made missile head with ridiculous names convince you that the Palestinians fighting for their lives in Gaza deserve what they’ve been going through all these years. And for the arab media: Why don’t you try to show some of the protests in Tel Aviv against the Gaza attacks? This made me feel that they’re still some mercy among humans.. But yet, on the other hand the IDF have amazingly managed to hack social media for its propaganda purpose, scared the hell out of me, while hamas where SO doomed in their “communication” attempts..

    As fot the Lebanese wtf for today? Oh it’s quite straight forward: while this country is still governed by a bunch of mafia heads running it like pimps, sucking out the blood of its youth power. Another Lebanese send a f*cking rover to Mars and he’s giving a lecture at LAU tonight and a talk at TEDxBeirut tomorrow, Charles El-Achi the director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and I bet most of you didn’t know, or worse DON’T GIVE A DAMN about this. So please don’t forget for the next elections to vote just like you did before and most importantly don’t forget to spread you chauvinism all over my timeline, I’d love to giggle about it! We gave you Ziad Baroud once, what have you done with him?

    So do you want to know how bad is the situation? It’s like at some point, in the early 20th century, some bunch of power-holders divided by zero and created a black whole that kept expanded more and more until it sucks every drop of sense out of people’s messed up minds…

    But some of you would say..”what would she know! She’s been out of Lebanon for 5 years, she doesn’t know what she’ll talking about she’s a stanger now.”

    Baklawa power all the way!

    S.” Sarah Zahra

  248. Amal Watt · November 18, 2012

    Géniale cette fille!

  249. Alia Dernaika · November 18, 2012

    Proud of u Sara bravo that was really good

  250. Alia Dernaika · November 18, 2012


  251. Sina Samineh Valiollah · November 18, 2012


  252. Samia Nimer · November 19, 2012

    U should be proud Sara 😀

  253. Nisrine Hachem Agebäck · November 19, 2012

    It is with great pride that I congratulate you Sara for this grand felt reaction. To me this proves a lot! Good luck always dear!

  254. Jieriomka Nikolaevitch Abu Jieriomka · November 20, 2012

    Very very clever. Please read!

  255. Ralph Nader · November 21, 2012

    Well done Sara, you rocked the planet from a false mezze story. I wish we can resolve conflicts through social media instead of killing innocents or destroying cities. Keep going. We are here to support you. (P.S: you write a lot 🙂 make it shorter next time :-))

  256. Claudine Halabi · November 21, 2012

    You are a valid example of how we can take back our heritage and stand up for truth and justice.

  257. Firas Tebbo · November 21, 2012

    Hummusrious!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)))

  258. Elias Mouawad · November 21, 2012

    Fantastic!! Brilliant!! Bravo!!

  259. Zainab Abueljebain · November 21, 2012

    I love this and Kudos to the young woman who deciphered and found the origins of all the Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Spanish foods that were wrongly claimed by the occupiers

  260. Ml Hood · November 21, 2012

    So you wanna pick your sister in law huum? Someone who could teach you couscous isn’t Libyan for instance? Well if the whole family is as funny as the girl we can give it a shot :p

  261. Zena Takieddine · November 24, 2012

    yislam timmik wil sense of humor taba3ik meet malyon marra! 😀 Bit fishshi il-alb!

  262. Azza Habbab · November 25, 2012

    Bravo sarsoura

  263. Ramez Hourani · November 27, 2012

    Thank you, amazing worlds..

  264. Ramez Hourani · November 27, 2012

    Take your time and read it..

  265. Suze Bujsaim · November 27, 2012

    Looking at the items on the menu, Mezze is originally Lebanese/Arabic and so is the food on the menu so how on earth did they come up with Israel!?

  266. Aromas del Libano · November 28, 2012


  267. Annie Tazbaz · December 2, 2012

    To whom it may concern : Preserving and claiming respect of our own culture does not mean contempt or disrespect for your culture …RESPECT !

  268. Carl Davila · December 3, 2012

    Sara’s response to the Israelis who posted is fascinating!

  269. Jonathan H. Shannon · December 3, 2012

    Great response on the thread!

  270. Randa Sawabini Srouji · December 7, 2012

    Yeah!!!! This is the way it goes with ever thing else!

  271. Zeinab Rawda Alameh · December 10, 2012

    Followed By the Below 🙂

  272. Haytham David Al Ahdab · December 13, 2012

    pretty well said)) Bravo)

  273. Roy Cohen · December 23, 2012

    Hey guys, I’ve been an Israeli peace activist since the age of 13 and have done many things that don’t mesh with what most of you probably have in mind for an Israeli man.

    Just wanted people here to consider that many Jews came from North African countries. My mother was born in Algiers and was forced out of the country during the revolution and my father left Morocco when his parents were promised to live in a place where they wouldn’t have to worry about anti-Jewish sentiment.

    The foods mentioned in the menu in this picture are wleo partially taken from the cuisines my parents brought with them (cous cous, for example). It’s important to remember that, because some of these foods come from Arab cultures that are not Palestinian, from areas like the Maghreb, where Jews were once part of the culture.

    And so, to me, this menu-meme is not a clear-cut picture of cultural occupation as some would like to think, but rather a complex portrait of those places Jews had left before coming to Israel (as well as the occupation’s effect on them, I would not ignore that).

    To reiterate, I’m probably more politically aligned with some of you than I am with my own government. It would be a shame, however, to know that my family’s story — and much of the complexity that makes life in this area so tragic — gets lost or ignored in simplistic facebook memes.

  274. Shobi Ahmed · December 23, 2012

    Perhaps this whole ruckus could have been avoided if the catering company had had the good sense to designate it a “Middle Eastern/North African Food Station” rather than label it with any relatively recent (and charged) national or linguistic markers of identity. In a very ancient region of continually evolving and overlapping cultures, borders and religions, I would even hesitate to label all those dishes Arab or “Arabic”! And certainly not “Israeli” haha

  275. MZ · January 14, 2016

    Meh, this author is grasping at straws. These foods are definitely Israeli because of Mizrahi Jews and Israeli Arabs. They’re just not exclusively Israeli. Think about “American Food” which is really just an amalgamation of various european foods and other immigrant creations. Same concept. Yes hummus is a dish that came from an Arab REGION, but it came from a huge landmass, not a single people, a land and area full of Arabs, Turks, Jews, etc. so Hummus doesn’t belong to a particular race of human beings. The Middle East is a diverse and interesting place and I think you’re oversimplifying the history of such a huge region. Don’t confuse Arabic speakers with Arab people!

    The author’s argument against the point that Mizrahis brought the food to Israel is as follows:

    “Do you really mean to tell us that 1.5 million Arab Jews have dictated to 7 million Israelis what they were going to eat? We won’t believe it… Because that would mean that you guys got whipped. And we’ve been at war with you, and it is NOT easy to whip you guys.”
    The argument you have against this is that you “won’t believe it?”

    Sorry but you better believe it because it’s true, the 1.5 million Jews of Arab lands did dictate the cuisine of the region because that combined with the local Arab population means the region is just plain a majority Mideast Culture.

    “Israeli” is just a modern nationality, and it’s no more or less arbitrary than any other nation state in Southwest Asia, since all those modern borders were carved up by europeans in the first place. Syria was formed in 1924, does that mean Syrian food is made up as well? Lebanon was formed in the 1920’s as well, is their food made up?

    Lastly you cannot steal culture any more than you can steal air, sunlight, technology or knowledge. Culture is a public good; it’s inexhaustible and non-excludable. Culture is meant to be shared. It’s called multiculturalism. Maybe you can make an argument for “copyright infringement” but again, something calling itself Israeli is arbitrary because the real argument is if this food is Arab or Jewish and has little to do with country boundaries that didn’t exist when this food was created Millenia ago. but you’ll have to hop into a time machine and go find the first man or woman to literally invent hummus. Are you willing to take that risk? It could have been some Jewish guy or a Turk living in the levant or the maghreb who overcooked his chickpeas one fine day 1,000 years ago. You can’t ever be truly sure!

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