Food politics: a "falafel war" looming between Lebanon and Israel
A new war between Israel and Lebanon has erupted, but this time it the war is not geopolitical, but rather an issue of cuisine - who has sovereignty over traditional Arab dishes and sandwiches, dpa reported.
The president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association Fadi Abboud, said he is preparing to file an international lawsuit against Israel for allegedly "taking the identity of the some of Lebanese foods" and thus violating a food copyright.
"In a way the Jewish state is trying to claim ownership of traditional Lebanese delicacies like Falafel, tabouleh (Lebanese Salad) and hommus (Cheak peas mashed with Sesame oil)," Abboud said.
According to Abboud, the Lebanese are losing "tens of millions of dollars annually" because Israel is selling and marketing traditional Lebanese dishes.
"The Israelis are marketing our main food dishes as if they were Israeli dishes," he charged.
"We are working on registering all the foods and ingredients which will be submitted to the Lebanese government so it can appeal to the international courts against Israel," Abboud said.
"The Israelis are marketing such Lebanese delicacies under the same names and ingredients around the world," he added. "This is harming and causing great losses to Lebanon."
Abboud said he prepared his memo on the subject, based on the case of the Greek "feta cheese precedent" that occurred six years ago.
At the time, Greece managed to prove in international institutions that it was the "originator" of feta cheese and won the case.
According to Abboud, while Lebanon never registered the names and ingredients of its own delicacies, "it can refer to the Greece precedent since these foods are historically known as traditional Lebanese foods.
"By doing so, we are preventing Israel from stealing our main food trademarks and selling them around the world," Abboud added.