Let’s address the hatred.

Let’s address the hatred.

*Illustration by Sara El-Yafi

Note: This is the open letter I wrote to Israel as a response to the Israeli sympathizers angrily reacting to the Israeli Mezze Station post and Harvard University's response. The links to their unhappy articles can be found at the end of this post. I would like to believe that this post here is a pseudo dialogue with Israeli sympathizers, and if you read the comments below my post, you will see that many people in our region want to engage in a constructive dialogue too, but this calls for having mutual respect for the dignity of people. It is interesting to note that this all happened on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who closely followed this story. May peace, happiness and flowers prevail in our world. 

To the people and friends of Israel:

I’ve never addressed an entire nation and its Facebook friends so I am excited.

Off the bat, let me say that I come in peace. In case peace is an unfamiliar word, it means both the absence of violence as well as the presence of positive and respectful intentions.

Following the Israeli Mezze cancellation at Harvard Business School after the popular post that I have published on Facebook, a series of violent and hateful articles in addition to many disrespectful comments have erupted across the web against Sara El-Yafi (moi) and Harvard University. The authors are all Israeli sympathizers who, to put it mildly, felt compelled to voice how ‘bothered’ they were by Harvard’s respectful answer to my post and all the people’s comments on the thread.

First. Let me say what’s on the minds of most of the non-Zionists of the world: you use the word ‘antisemitic’ like a 16-year-old Californian girl uses the word ‘like’, and it can become irritating. Antisemitic is a very, very serious accusation with a very dangerous violent connotation that should never be freely used whenever you feel a tad ‘irritated’. It is dangerous. My post or the subsequent taking down of the Israeli Mezze Station is not a move against Judaism or Israel, but it is a move in favor of honoring the heritage of all Middle Easterners, including our very own Jews. Indeed, for the handful of Jews who still live in Arab lands today, that is their food too, and those Jews are not Israeli, they are Lebanese, Syrian, Moroccan etc. My post cannot be termed antisemitic because the matter at hand is not your religion, but it is the appropriation of culture by another culture. I have met with the heads of the Syrian Jewish community in Damascus in 2008. Guess what the food was? Hummus, fattush and barazek. OMG, like, how come? Because in addition to being Jewish, they are Syrian and they eat the local food, just like the Muslims, the Christians and the Alawites do. So you see, your antisemitic allegations are out-of-context. Neither I, nor the wonderful people who have liked, shared or commented on the Israeli Mezze threads are antisemitic. In fact, I bet you that every single one of us has Jewish friends, every single one of us reads, watches, listens to & admires the great works of Jewish people, many of us have fallen in love with Jewish men and women, and some of us may even still have a crush on a beautiful Jewish man or woman who doesn’t know we exist; I know I do, his name is Stewart, Jon Stewart, and I would leave my boyfriend for him. Fact. Antisemitic, hateful behavior is simply not condoned within my circle of friends and household. And for all the people on the thread, we are simply people who value our heritage and would like to see others, starting with you, respect our heritage as Harvard University has. And HBS should be duly commended for having stood up for heritage for they would have done the same for you if we walked around campus wearing kippahs claiming them to be typical Lebanese garments.

Second. Please understand that responding with hatred and showing your annoyance at my post by “making fun” of the plight of the Palestinians, insulting me and Harvard University or aggressing peaceful people on the thread is embarrassing for you more than for anyone else. The proof is that you delete your hateful comments on my thread because they anger nobody, so you resort to the anti-Arab threads (see link #3 at the end) to voice your racist opinions instead of posting it on the mother thread. Your hatred for Palestinians cannot be the overarching theme in all of your dialogues, it makes no sense here. To the Harvard graduate McGill professor who attacked my post by attacking Palestinians, you should know that my post has nothing to do with the specific Palestinian identity; the photograph was taken by an Egyptian friend and the post was written by me and I am Lebanese. I proceeded to denounce the termed ‘Israeli foods’ on behalf of Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Moroccans, Tunisians, Algerians, Libyans, Egyptians, Palestinians, Greeks, Turks, Italians, and Cypriots altogether i.e. it is a denouncement on behalf of the Mediterranean! Where you saw the “Palestinian terrorism” is a mystery to me. You “invented” the Palestinian edge in your article because you took it as a stage opportunity to beat on the Palestinians. You are free to do so, and will surely find an audience to cheer you on, but in this case, being a professor at such a respectable university as well as a notable Harvard graduate, I believe the least you can do is communicate your ideas after having fact-checked the entire issue instead of resorting to calling me a “bully” (thanks btw) and taking the opportunity to call the Palestinians terrorists and “intellectual bullies” (??). I am sure you would give an F to your McGill students if they handed in their history final paper filled with arguments supported with false information that hasn’t been fact-checked and/or referenced. So you my dear just got an F.

Third. To the one(s) who accused me of being an anti-Israeli Islamic fundamentalist: Yes! How did you know! That is exactly what I am! I thought that my Facebook profile outfit would actually hide my identity, but now I am busted, you saw right through me. I look forward to introducing you to my four wives, but they are all busy now in the kitchen (where they sleep) cooking my halal midnight snack. You are right, foods have religious biases and preferences and so it is wise of you to make of this food fight a religious one. You see, as most Jews, I too am lactose intolerant, so I suggest we get together and wage jihad on dairy products as lactose is clearly antisemitic (all these Jewish lactose allergies!). If you agree to that, please write another sensical article on jpost or on your blogs announcing your hatred for antisemitic dairy products, it will be “our sign”. I will then mail you a booklet instructions on “How to wage Jihad on Cheeses Christ.” We’ll then proceed by blowing ourselves up in the Danone and Nestle headquarters and go straight to heaven so I can finally be with my 72 virgins whom I cannot wait to meet! Can’t wait for all these pillow fights and virgin hair braiding!! The best part is that Harvard University, the notorious Islamic institution (how did you know!) will be funding the entire operation, so you don’t have to worry about airfare, we got that covered! *wink*

Look… To put it in mild terms, you and us, we have a very strained relationship. By ‘we’, I mean we people of the Middle East 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. The best minds of the world will tell you that nobody has ever won a debate by “making fun of” or “using insults on” your adversary. It doesn’t work. If you call me “stupid”, “psychotic”, “bully” or “bitch” 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 are used to employing full-fledged force and you’ve 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 “f*ck Harvard University, they are Islamists” makes for emotional terrorism, rather than constructive argument, and it makes you, your country and your cause look very bad.

I have written this on my last post, but I know you have not read it. So I will say it again because it is so important: There are only two scenarios that might make our relationship work:

1. One of us disappears. 2. We coexist.

Due to mechanical, physical, and chemical limitations of our dear planet, the first scenario is simply impossible. No full-blown catastrophe can have such precise and rapid results as to rid us of all members of one camp. The only recorded history of a vanishing race 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 (ehhem).

So you see, we are 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?

Unfortunately for us, an Israeli hater is far more vicious by all shots and all standards because there is nothing more dangerous than hatred that is bred in a thriving, developed environment like the Israeli one (I mean, what more do you want?); whereas hatred in a harsh, sadistic environment (like the Arabic one) is only normal.

I have stated here a bunch of comparative statistics that I diligently ask you to review in the part addressed to “the haters”:

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 eyeballs gouged, 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.

The bottom line is, 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, I assure you less people will want to throw rockets on Israel, and righteous peace will finally ensue.

Sara El-Yafi

PS: This is my public page

For your convenience, here are the above mentioned vitriol-infused articles:
1. Harvard graduate/McGill History Professor:
2. Harvard graduate/Cornell Law Professor:
3. Beautiful haters on Facebook:
4. This is my favorite. American conservative blogger, recurrent guest on Fox & Friends. It is sad to see that a pretty woman like her feels the need to use such dirty language to make her point (check out her “Maa al salameh, kalbeh” at the very end):

Written by Sara El-Yafi


  1. Taufiq Rahim · November 26, 2012

    I’d just like to point out that is blocked in the UAE. She must not meet the halal criteria.

  2. Zouheir Tawil · November 26, 2012

    Best post so far!!! clap clap

  3. Coco Bel Oeil · November 26, 2012

    Sara u rock!!!!!! Tu mets les mots que je n’arrive pas a trouver pour exprimer mes pensées de manière si juste!
    Bravo j’admire ta finesse et la justesse avec laquelle tes propos ébranlent les esprits étriqués! Quelle plaisir de te lire!
    Good job!!!!

  4. Neemat El Yafi · November 26, 2012

    Hats off Sara..

  5. Joy Majdalani Habib · November 26, 2012

    Well said Sara!

  6. Ramzey Hammoud · November 26, 2012

    (Standing ovation). Best current date Middle East geopolitical banter I’ve read in a while. Mr Taufiq Rahim, you’ve got yourself some competition.

    • Taufiq Rahim · November 26, 2012

      Ramzey Hammoud – It’s friendly competition. And Sara El-Yafi outshines them all 🙂

  7. Ramzi Khuri · November 26, 2012

    Beautifully written! Keep ’em coming Sara.

  8. Jennifer Tucker Thurman · November 26, 2012

    Please let’s get Sara on The Daily Show. That would be good times.

  9. Peter Spierig · November 26, 2012

    Very well written, but what are your feelings towards Australians?!!

  10. Maen Ftouni · November 26, 2012

    Respect Sara, really love reading your posts, I am shocked by the replies/articles you posted some people have no shame ! Keep up the good work.

  11. Michel Jabbour · November 26, 2012

    Aplause! 🙂

  12. Denise Diaz · November 26, 2012

    Thank you for your work and for your eloquence.

  13. OldPal Fayez · November 26, 2012

    I still think an Oxford scholar could have summed it up in 3 paragraphs

    Keep it up.

  14. Samar Zacharia · November 26, 2012

    Excellent follow up ! you would be a great guest on the Daily Show with our mutual crush 🙂 i suggested they have you on hope more people will write and request the same .

  15. Riebal Hmaydan · November 26, 2012

    Plz read through this amazing post.
    Well written, keep it up.

  16. Noura AlJawhary · November 26, 2012


  17. Johara Bouchama · November 26, 2012

    I started reading reference #4 and i stopped barely half way trough it because it doesn’t make sense!! Her only argument is “hatred”! And obviously she didn’t understand anything! Anyway thank you Sara for being the voice of the mediterranean people! Chapeau bas pour cette prouesse analytique , ce franc parlé et ce courage!! la touche d’ironie dans ton discours est juste hilarante!! Je ne te savais pas si extremiste :p Un jour qui sait la paix et la justice s’installeront! Inchallah!! (si on peux oser dire ca, ici, sans se faire passer pour un anti-semite) Peace in the middle east!!

  18. Pamela Karam · November 26, 2012

    Thank you from Beirut.

  19. Anna Germanos · November 26, 2012

    Excellent!!!!!! Merci!

  20. Judy Barrage · November 26, 2012

    Never any place for hate! Thanks for making the point so loud and clear

  21. Hussam William Ayyad · November 26, 2012


  22. Stephanos Henein · November 26, 2012

    I wonder if Molokheya is an Israeli dish as well. After all it’s called Jews Mellow in English.

    • Stephanos Henein · November 26, 2012

      I was being sarcastic……Molokheya is a popular dish in the Middle East, but its perfected in Egypt. 🙂

  23. Chris Taylor · November 26, 2012

    Ya Sara El-Yafi. Well done, my friend, well done!

  24. Taha La Que · November 26, 2012

    Amazing post. Well done Sara.

  25. Joumana El-Yafi · November 26, 2012

    My God daughter, I am speechless “wa taa3talat lougatoo el kalami…”my darling your mom has been contemplating this last article of yours since you posted it, at a loss of words…really I am so overwhelmed by what you just wrote that I can’t really find the right words to describe my thoughts and feelings,I sit there in complete awe(as in absolute admiration…not fear of course!)What can one say in addition to the great comments you already received like “standing ovation”,or you “outshines them all”and so many great comments written by enlightened people…So what can one say my darling to such respectful,gracious,considerate,sensitive,sensible,intelligent,so well said,so well researched,so well expressed ,so eloquently written answer to the people and friends of Israel!My darling you answer hatred by Love,rockets by flowers,shalow minds by depth,sarcasm by humor,superficiality by wise talk,disrespect by being so grand,you my darling are simply above all, ignominy,impertinence and any rudeness of the sort,untouchable in your high standards of ethics!
    I have said it before habibti and I will say it again and again you make the world a better place and I,your father and all your family are so proud of you!God bless you and keep you always the voice of rightfulness and justice!

  26. Yasmine El-Achkar · November 26, 2012

    You’re awesome!

  27. Areeb Zuaiter · November 26, 2012

    Well said! Thank you !

  28. Carine Khoury Torres · November 26, 2012

    Debbie Schlussel is one classless, angry and trigger-happy ignorant zealot. Wow, she seriously has issues.

  29. Jean-Marc Tannous · November 26, 2012

    Bravo !

  30. Carine Khoury Torres · November 26, 2012

    It is really sad to see that all this anger and hatred was sparked by an amusing (yes, amusing!) Facebook post about a food menu. Why does it always have to turn political or religious and in this case, personal? Where is the freedom of speech and sense of humour now, people? It is commonly (and unfortunately) presumed that all Muslims (and Arabs as a whole) are angry, intolerant and hateful people, but this clearly shows that the anger, intolerance and hatred can be as virulent on the ‘other side’. I, for one (and like you), have no issues with Jews or Judaism per se. Just want to make that clear right off the bat, before I am accused of being a Jew-hater! In fact, I have Jewish friends, have dated Jewish guys (which, by the way, would refuse to introduce me to their parents because I was not Jewish and even worse, although not Muslim, I was Lebanese) – hell, I even volunteered a few times at Jewish hospitals and geriatric centers in Montreal 😮 – and honestly, I really do not care what religious group (if any, for that matter) someone belongs to as long as they treat myself and others with respect and decency. Fair enough? What I do have a problem with, however, is the liberal use of the word ‘antisemitism’ every time someone dares to say ANYTHING about Israel, even when it is about food, as you have learnt, my dear Sara. Being anti-Israel or merely criticizing something or someone who happens to be Israeli does not mean you are anti-semite. I stand firmly against the State of Israel’s policies, actions and justifications, but I am not anti-semite. Oh, and believing in the Palestinians’ plight and right to justice and land does not mean that I am pro-Hamas or pro-violence either. But I digress. Yes, it is easy to digress when it comes to any topic that involves the Middle East, I am just as guilty 🙂 . Sara, what I want to say is this: Debbie Schlussel is an idiot and she has no class. Her personal attacks on you as a person are totally ridiculous and laughable. I couldn’t help but giggle at the comments that were made about you being a Muslim fundamentalist trying to ‘fool’ people by wearing a mini-skirt. As for the McGill professor/Harvard grad, he is an idiot as well. Your post about the Israeli menu made no reference to Palestinians and had nothing to do with current events, yet he immediately turned it into a Palestinian vs. Israeli issue. Same old rhetoric. I am happy to have known you and your family for years and I love and support you.

  31. Fadi Chahrouri · November 26, 2012

    I like the way you write Sara!

  32. Manal Ghandour · November 26, 2012

    Could this be the first steps to peace? Wishful thinking ….

  33. Maye Ostowani · November 26, 2012

    You have very eloquently said what I have been wanting to say for a very long time and I think you speak for a lot of us, thank you

  34. Farah Malak · November 26, 2012

    Brilliant, just brilliant :))

  35. Malak Ghazaly Ozalp · November 26, 2012

    Bravo. So well written.

  36. Wael Emile Tawile · November 26, 2012

    Peace!!you people gotta be are hypnotized by Western media..Sara I love what you wrote but coexisting with the Jews is not new,religions has always coexisted in our region but creating the jewish zionist state of Israel on occupied land creates no chance for peace and may God be my witness the struggle to eradicate Zionism from the occupied lands of Palestine would be our daily bread and our heritage to be passed on to coming generations..

  37. Mounir Doumani · November 26, 2012

    the voice…

  38. Milad Assaf · November 26, 2012

    Amazing! need more people like her

  39. Adnan DAWALIBI · November 26, 2012

    Well done Sara

  40. Hussein Itany · November 26, 2012

    Sara El-Yafi, Again… Respect!
    What does “Antisemitic” & “Arab” really means?
    Very nicely described and communicated.

  41. Wael Emile Tawile · November 26, 2012

    love the approach but peace with the Zionist state of israel is not feasible as long as there is occupied lands..

    • Mazen El-Tibi · November 27, 2012

      It is a matter of justice not hate. The only just course is to return the land to its rightful owners, then there will be peace.

  42. Stephanos Henein · November 26, 2012


  43. Fahmi Alghussein · November 26, 2012

    Please read and send it to all your friends….

  44. Iman N. · November 26, 2012

    ..She is pretty brilliant. Also please make sure you read the ‘Harvard Mezze’ post. Genius. We love Sara El-Yafi

  45. Ramzi Moujaes · November 26, 2012

    Truly touching,, if this cause has a any meaning to you please take the time to read it as you surely will not regret it. And for those who aren’t involved, keep calm and carry on. Finally someone speaking sense.

  46. George Germanos · November 26, 2012

    Amazing. What a G.

  47. Karam Barnaba · November 26, 2012

    Amazing article please share

  48. Khalil Tayara · November 26, 2012

    Cheeses! I love this post

  49. Karam Toubba · November 26, 2012


  50. Karim Naaman · November 26, 2012

    Thumbs up!!

  51. Ali Agha · November 26, 2012

    hilarious – well done sara!

  52. Camil Khoury · November 26, 2012

    absolutely brilliant, love the sarcasm

  53. Fouad Dajani · November 26, 2012

    fantstic as always Sara but i fear you are talking to a brick wall :/ Some of those comments made by some apparently quite intelligent people are retarded and in some cases outright racist. Kudos for reaching out though

  54. Zeina Mhanna · November 26, 2012

    I am shoked by some of the things that have been said about you, palestinians, muslims and arabs in general. Shocked. They have so much hatered in them, makes peace look less and less likely to happen ever. So sad

  55. Ghias El Yafi · November 26, 2012

    Keep it up Sara. Your arguments are funnier and stronger than anything they’ve thrown back at you.

  56. Wassef Ezzedine · November 26, 2012

    Amazing ! So well “cooked” !
    Next comes “peace among loving people” ! (in a little while though)…

  57. Ali Khilji · November 26, 2012

    This is great…………logical and lucid …… love the sarcasam, keep it up

  58. Omar Tabba · November 26, 2012

    Fabulous. Simply fabulous.

  59. Imran Khan · November 26, 2012


  60. Ghada El Yafi · November 26, 2012

    Sauf que je n’aime pas ce que symbolise l’étoile, même avec des fleurs

  61. Jad Hindi · November 26, 2012

    wonderful piece. bravo.

  62. Nisrine Rawdah Naaman · November 26, 2012

    Well done Sara! Bravo…

  63. Joumana El-Yafi · November 26, 2012

    brilliant,brilliant daughter,as usual amazing unique style,finesse and culture.You are way way so many levels above them all those disrespectful people blinded by hatred and fanatisme which only makes them for ever losers…So proud of your grandness,keep it up my darling ,God bless you!

  64. Nadim Haddad · November 26, 2012

    Big thumbs up from this very right wing Lebanese Christian! Some Jews need to understand the danger that faces Israel unless they change course.

  65. Fahmi Alghussein · November 26, 2012

    Sara, I dont know you but hope one day to meet you and shake your hand, I wish we can inspire more people from our part of the world to think and express themselves as eloquent as you did. I have been reading you posts and must say its very impressive. Just one tip, it was from a BBM status that I saw a few days ago and wanted to share it with you “.Arguing with a fool only proves that there are two”. I know that you are no fool (far from it), and will try your best to say the last word,and state the facts, I look forward to reading about your posts and hearing of your good news.

  66. Judy Barrage · November 26, 2012

    Super Sara!!

  67. Joseph Abou Rjeily · November 26, 2012

    Hi Sara, we never met before but I will feel so honored if we meet one day.
    I read and re-read your posts so passionately. They are so informative and analytical. I wish the persons who replied to you strived to keep up with your strong arguments, simple facts and eloquent style. When they are so disarmed, they start stereotyping and defend their religious belonging, as if anyone offended it. They can’t stand us being so superior intellectually and so convincing.
    What I like more are your mother posts. You are both larger than life.

  68. Joumana El-Yafi · November 26, 2012

    My God daughter, I am speechless “wa taa3talat lougatoo el kalami…”my darling your mom has been contemplating this last article of yours since you posted it, at a loss of words…really I am so overwhelmed by what you just wrote that I can’t really find the right words to describe my thoughts and feelings,I sit there in complete awe(as in absolute admiration…not fear of course!)What can one say in addition to the great comments you already received like “standing ovation”,or you “outshines them all”and so many great comments written by enlightened people…So what can one say my darling to such respectful,gracious,considerate,sensitive,sensible,intelligent,so well said,so well researched,so well expressed ,so eloquently written answer to the people and friends of Israel!My darling you answer hatred by Love,rockets by flowers,shalow minds by depth,sarcasm by humor,superficiality by wise talk,disrespect by being so grand,you my darling are simply above all, ignominy,impertinence and any rudeness of the sort,untouchable in your high standards of ethics!
    I have said it before habibti and I will say it again and again you make the world a better place and I,your father and all your family are so proud of you!God bless you and keep you always the voice of rightfulness and justice!By the way you have great taste my lovely,I also love Jon Stewart very much and I send him by best regards!
    Love you so much

  69. Tamas Landesz · November 26, 2012

    Well done – Go Sara, Go!

  70. Carine Khoury Torres · November 26, 2012

    ‘Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.’ – Dalai Lama

  71. Basma Fakri · November 26, 2012

    Great article, Sara. Proud of you!

  72. Manal Ghandour · November 26, 2012

    call me naive, but i believe this could be the first steps to peace process…
    thanks to Sara El-Yafi for speaking out so truthfully and clearly!

    • Jaylan Tayeh · November 26, 2012

      Thanks Manal for sharing I always wanted to know the follow up on this and there it is…thanks

  73. Atheist Society of Lebanon · November 26, 2012

    Tolerance, ladies and gentlemen.

  74. Lahoud Marwan · November 27, 2012

    Too long!!

  75. Maya Trad · November 27, 2012

    Bravo Sara!!!

  76. Mais ALkarmi · November 27, 2012

    OMG! Amazing! Well written! Thank you!

  77. Racha Badran · November 27, 2012

    Thumbs up Sara 🙂 I have a crush on jon stewart as well lool.

  78. Maysan Marouf · November 27, 2012

    girl, you’re a genius!

  79. Amer Abousalem · November 27, 2012

    Well said lady…I am announcing you the speaker of the nation, lots of love from Dubai.

  80. Ramez Hourani · November 27, 2012

    fantastic!! thank you

  81. Grace Aoun · November 27, 2012

    Good job!!

  82. Davide Larry Zurlo · November 27, 2012

    non brava, bravissima!

  83. Myriam Kewan · November 27, 2012

    Beautifully said … I agree with Amer Abousalem

  84. Gaby Semaan · November 27, 2012

    Waw! Chapeau!!!!

  85. Julie Tegho · November 27, 2012

    Fachaytileh khel2eh! Beautifully said and put … Thumbs up from Bahrain

  86. Asma Al · November 27, 2012

    Wow that last woman you posted is a nut job. She also said that Sabra Hummus is a bestseller in the Arab world haha!

  87. Ahmado Alhassan · November 27, 2012

    Sara… Can we nominate you to be the ultimate supreme being leader of all arabs?… Forever..and ever… We can clone you. Brilliant!

  88. Maher Hakim · November 27, 2012

    Yes, the hatred must stop – on both sides. But we, Arabs, must get more people like you Sara to speak, engage, and debate on our behalf, instead of the nut cases we watch and hear everyday on TV channels. Keep using these natural gifts of yours to drive positive changes.

  89. Mirabelle Geha · November 27, 2012

    This is the smartest thing i’ve ever read! You’re amazing! Much love and support

  90. Chady Chouery · November 27, 2012

    Very well said ! Thank you !!

  91. Maha Attie · November 27, 2012

    No comment… I don’t know you but seriously that was so brilliant ! Well said !

  92. Rouba Murtada · November 27, 2012

    Hey ! I have a major crush on Jon Stewart too !!

  93. Aimee Nasser Karam · November 27, 2012

    Excellent message and shrud way of thinking towards a culture of Peace…

  94. Sylvie Mouradian · November 27, 2012

    Sara El Yafi, it is sooooo satisfactory to read such a wise and sharp answer to the ones you are certainly making feel miserable! 🙂

  95. Jean-Michel Lambert · November 27, 2012

    C’est peut etre ce qui s’appelle precher dans le desert…..mais parfois….cela reussit…Alors il faut continuer!!!

  96. James Sadek · November 27, 2012

    This article, while pure in intent and sensible overall, does nothing to respond to the people who made some valid points despite the unfortunate use of rhetoric. I fail to see how you defend your stand on what brought this up to begin with by taking the conversation in a different direction and lecturing people about stereotypes.

  97. Ramez Hourani · November 27, 2012

    Take your time and read it please.


  98. Maya Trad · November 27, 2012

    Bravo to Sara!!!

  99. Tarek Zebian · November 27, 2012

    I enjoyed reading every word of it, I am sure you will too. Bravo Sara El-Yafi !

    • Anwar Abdul Baki · December 2, 2012

      For the record, an Arab is a Semite, so how can an Arab be accused of being anti-semitic?
      ‘Definition of Semitic (Myriam webster dictionary): of, relating to, or constituting a subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic language family that includes Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Amharic. ‘

  100. Maysan Marouf · November 27, 2012

    this woman is a genius!

  101. Khalil N. Fares · November 27, 2012

    سارة اليافي : ان هذا الرد ولو اتيح لكل الاسرائيليين قراءته سيفعل فعله بعقولهم كما فعل فيي منطق الاقناع الذي لا يمكن لعربي او اسرائيلي ان يتجاهله الا اذا كان أحمقا … أنا لا أعرفك ولكني فخور بك وبنمط تفكيرك ومناقشتك لأمور شديدة التعقيد بالنسبة لمن هم مثلي من الناس العاديين.

  102. Khalil N. Fares · November 27, 2012

    حسام حوا شكرا لك لاتاحة الفرصة لي كي أقرأ هذا الرد من سارة اليافي

  103. Annie Honein · November 28, 2012

    bravo…sublime…on doit continuer

  104. Raja Fakhoury · November 28, 2012

    Simply AWESOME!

  105. Hassane 'Sean' Mahfouz · November 28, 2012

    I would be pissed off if I was your bf! hahahaha Jon Stewart??

  106. Farah Zahra · November 28, 2012


  107. Tarek AC · November 28, 2012

    Eloquently written, witty, provocative. I’m no harvard graduate, I never embraced any academic subjects, being aware that schooling is a contributing factor to human [wealth] inequality, and there are some being coercively deprived of a proper education. That being said, I believe all human beings are equal in value. No-one is to blame more than the other. From a historical perspective, the Jews view the land as their own. Also, being well-read adds no further blame on the shoulders of Israelis, but more on the shoulders of the uneducated Arabs, mainly our leaders (for succumbing to being puppets for the West). Your article, in my humble opinion, did not need the aggressive undertone glaring from between the lines. I know how deeply you feel about the subject, as a matter of fact, we all do. The reason being it will only provoke more hostility instead of stimulating thoughts regarding our coexistence. As for that subject, maybe what we can blame the Israelis for is the dissatisfaction with what they already have and their not-so-concealed plans to keep expanding. Also, keeping a friendly tone would belittle your enemies who seem to be lashing out at you with absolutely no intelligent reason. The blame is on them for valuing every semitic life highly above ours, and the blame is ours for playing along. The only way a fair coexistence could be achieved is if they toned down the ‘ego’. For now, though, our leaders as well as theirs would not opt for coexistence. I don’t have a solution. The solution is within the grasp of the authorities and the influential people of all countries of the world. The pleas should be directed at them, not at Israel.
    Just my two cents.

  108. May Habbab · November 28, 2012

    Ya 7ayat albi….I’m so proud of you ….

  109. Raya Kadi · November 28, 2012

    Great article Sara!!

  110. Fadi Shami · November 28, 2012

    One more point on that article, For those who called you “anti-semite” I would encourage them to lookup the definition of Semite or Semetic. Semite refers to ppl who spoke certain languages, like Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldean etc… So it is absolutely ignorant to put this word (anti-semetic) in the context they are using. Shows the power of the media to brain wash ppl, the dumb ones at least 🙂

  111. Claudia Preti · November 29, 2012


  112. Lina Osseiran-Hijazi · December 3, 2012

    Hi Sara,
    I don’t know you but I’m in awe with what you wrote. You have expressed so eloquently what many of us have been thinking for a very long time. I wonder why your article hasn’t made the front page of the New York Times?
    I have an 11 years old daughter and I hope she becomes as articulate, intelligent and witty as you are.

  113. Zaid El-Abed · December 3, 2012

    speechless 🙂

  114. Karim Eigner · December 4, 2012

    Well said

  115. David Menassa · December 4, 2012

    argumentative, articulate, academic and above all, civilized 🙂 I cannot believe the vitriol that was sparked against quite a legitimate claim. Thank you for expressing this so well. You should come and voice all this at the Oxford Union!

  116. Elias Matta · December 5, 2012

    Beautifully worded Sara and very well said.

  117. Taline Saatdjian Kradjian · December 7, 2012

    Ur one smart girl, few of a mind like urs and I’ll start to have hope in this corrupt world 🙂

  118. Patricia El-khoury · December 14, 2012


  119. Chérine Kurdi · December 14, 2012

    Thank you Sara for being PRO PEACE!

  120. Elie Hamch · December 14, 2012

    Stealing and adopting habbits from middle eastern cultures by israel as a state has been methodical for the last 50 years at .. From stealing musems during crises from ME countries to the extent of promoting ME food as israeli to aquir some kind of cultural depth and therefore stregthen their week cultural claim … Yeah hommus and falafel and and are ME and not israeli…
    Israel tribes has always lived in tents as nomades ‘tabernacle’…
    Ur argument is very strong thank you…
    But i have a question:
    Do you really see that the arab spring will bring more coexistence????? Do you really think that fundamental arbs and islamist are ready to coexist with israel as a state … Do u really think that radical islam aint threatening the minimum coexistence that exist now ….
    We can see proofs everywhere thats its not…

    U represent a very small minority in the middle east …but i think you already know that.

  121. Carla Korkmaz · December 14, 2012

    i always wonder.. if people supposedly from academic backgrounds and prone to research and self improvement cannot find a way to debate FACTS before emotions, what are we supposed to expect from the rest of the world? well said sara, hope it won’t fall on deaf ears

  122. Yasmin Agha · December 14, 2012

    You’re a star.

  123. Salma Khalaili · December 16, 2012

    Although I don’t personally know you lady, but I am proud of you and what you did, very well said

  124. Mohammed Al Qemzi · December 17, 2012

    Bless this post

  125. Zaid Adham · December 17, 2012


  126. Rohit Shenoy · December 17, 2012

    I don’t know you, nor the background info in depth. Just wanted to say I enjoyed and appreciated your post.

  127. Ahmed Saleh · December 17, 2012

    Hey Sara, Love your post very unbias, witty and sarcastic. but hey they had it coming I’m sure you deserve every praise given here but if I may disagree with you on one point. Not that they (the world, or well off countries) don’t have a bigger responsibility to restrain the hate, specially given the difference in circumstances, and to mention one “Illiteracy”. However you mentioned that freedom is something they don’t have to gamble for anymore and I completely disagree with that.
    I think and time will show that Americans at a certain time will have it far worse than all other countries. You see the illusion of freedom and true freedom are completely different. As I’m sure you know they don’t exactly vote to elect their president and their presidents don’t exactly make the decisions, also their wars aren’t exactly to promote peace rather acts of violence so they could maintain power. What was really shocking was Obama jumping on the opportunity of the Connecticut massacre (my condolences and prayers to everyone involved. what a horrible incident) trying to promote the idea of completely banning firearms in the states. Think people, wouldn’t that be convenient.
    You see when you put all the peaces together you’ll find that the american population and the world are deluded by this facade of freedom that doesn’t exist, at least not yet.
    Thank you for an awesome read et chapeau..

  128. Lana Rayes · December 17, 2012


  129. Mana Saeed Al Falasi · December 18, 2012

    your words are like a breath of fresh air. Stay the course and never falter.

  130. Joanna M. Budair · December 18, 2012

    Bravo! May these racist and small-minded people receive the ultimate judgment on judgment day. These ppl make Jews look bad when I have in fact met Jews, one of which is a Holocaust survivor, say that a Jewish state is against their religion. You are a brave individual Sara and I praise Harvard for not buying into the American Zionist lobby.

  131. Ashruf Alwarrag · December 18, 2012

    Sublime, Sara.
    But two points (see the hate come out here):

    One, not that we need the label, but haven’t the Jews appropriated the Semite (whether pro or anti) ethnic line? I mean Arabs are the original Semites, aren’t we? We’re maybe cousins, but we are the older cousin.
    A trivial point. It may be. But trivial points such as the claim in the old testament that God promised the land from the river to the river to Abraham’s “only” son (the name Isaac seems forcibly inserted in the divine promise) is the bases for their claim to any of the historical Palestine and possibly more.
    Either way you can look at that statement/promise, Jews & Christians alike accept that Abraham had an older son Ishmael who is the only person who for at least fourteen years can claim or be called or thought of as Abraham’s “only” son! Isaac having come to the world having an older brother was never an “only” son of anyone.

    Two, another trivial point: the only, nearly successful, attempt to surgically erase a particular race or culture from a geographical area in the world is a very recent one. The culprits were european. They falsified historical and geographical facts and came up with statements under whose banner they marched on and used terror and murder to create those falsified facts on the ground: a land with no people, for a people with no land.

    Call me pedantic.

  132. Sue Addenbrooke · January 7, 2013

    Wild applause! Well done.

  133. Baudouin Abdelnour · January 11, 2013

    Stewart .. really !?!? .. John Stewart !?

  134. Arian Aareeyan · March 19, 2013

    Peaace Sara El-Yafi: Thanks for the first brilliant post that sparked all this. I skimmed through all the comments on the original post and here, and understood HBS apologized but did they change anything? If so, what? You said something about them agreeing to call it “Middle Eastern Food” in the future, but has that happened? Also, since we’re talking about naming and cultural appropriation, what are your thoughts on backing the movement to use the term “SWANA (SouthWest Asia/North Africa”, instead of the colonial term (which also doesn’t include North Africa) “Middle East”? You’ve already put so much effort into all this and had such a strong show of interest by people through FB. I’d be interested to know your thoughts. Much love and strength.

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