Video: Settlers claim olive oil as ‘Israeli’

Activism
on 42 Comments

Ali Abunimah posted on his blog this commercial for settler-made olive oil from an Israeli regional council– hijacking “the most important symbol and source of economic sustenance for rural Palestinians.”  Abunimah writes:

Zionism’s cultural appropriation of indigenous Palestinian folklore and cuisine – such as hummus, falafel and maftoul – as ‘Israeli’ has long irked Palestinians, especially when these same cultural products are used in international propaganda and marketing efforts which deny Palestinians’ rights and history. 

As the video is in Hebrew with a touch of appropriated Arabic slang (majnoon, or crazy), Abunimah provides a synopsis of the dialogue between the Israeli customer, and Palestinian waiter:

The title of the video is ‘the miracle of the oil canister and the plate of hummus,’ an allusion to the Hannukah myth known as the ‘Miracle of the Oil.’

The action is a comedy sketch set in what appears to be a restaurant in a Palestinian town within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries.

An Israeli is seated at a table eating hummus and olive oil. He is a caricature of a naive liberal and secular Israeli.

He finds the olive oil delicious and asks one of the two Arab waiters (the Arabs are also depicted in a stereotypical fashion as among other things deceptive) how the oil is made.

The Arab waiter tells how oil has been made for ‘thousands of years.’ While he is speaking, the video cuts not to scenes of Palestinians harvesting olives and making oil, but rather to religious settlers wearing skullcaps doing it using modern technology.

The gag is that at the end: the Israeli diner finishes his meal thinking he ate delicious oil made by Palestinians. But then the two waiters go to the kitchen and have a joke about the fact that the oil is made by settlers and they serve it in their restaurant. They reveal the Hebrew label on the bottle which says ‘Binyamin Oil, Olive Oil, Fine cold-press.’

The video, published as a product of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, was produced by a public relations firm. It is important to note that this regional council is located in the West Bank, and the municipality includes illegal outposts such as Migron, home of the “hilltop youth” responsible for “pricetag” crimes.

The PR firm, Rogatka, has previously produced other propaganda films, including a short with a voiceover from Martin Lurther King Jr., detailing critiques against Israel as “anti-Semitic.”

Abunimah’s catch on settler olive oil is one part of a media trend that treats Palestinian culture as part of Israel’s trendy culture

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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42 Responses

  1. seafoid
    January 18, 2012, 10:44 am

    Back in old russia in the Pale of settlement the Netanyahu family had thousands of olive trees. The oil was the basis of the famous gefilte bullschitle fisch

    The trees used to have to wear furry hats which is why the Lithuanian haredim follow this tradition in the heat of Jerusalem today.

  2. seafoid
    January 18, 2012, 11:02 am

    There was nobody in Erez Israel before 1872 when the first Jews arrived. The trees were all imported by Morten Schweinstein of Teaneck NJ in February 1874. The first Arabs only started to come in 1942.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      January 18, 2012, 11:27 am

      Really???. I didn’t know that.
      But this , this video (below) shows that actually there were Arabs in Palestine before 1948, and beautiful cities full of life and culture. Gosh I was soooo wrong.
      This video must be a pro- Arab propaganda. Oh, I am so naive.
      How did Morten Schweinstein imported all those olive trees??
      He carried them on own his back?? One by one ?? Amazing?
      Olive trees in NJ ?? I’ve never heard of ones ,but then …it doesn’t mean anything.

      • seafoid
        January 18, 2012, 12:15 pm

        At the time there were 10 million Jews living in Jordan and they were the only people in the whole region who knew how to work. They set up a human chain from Odessa to Jerusalem and personally handled each tree . They also erected beautiful stone buildings across the land of Israel that the Arabs who came later called their own. They ascended into heaven in a failed Rapture in 1878.

      • dumvitaestspesest
        January 18, 2012, 12:52 pm

        Yeah…, I get that…. , but how does Morten Schweinstein, from Teaneck NJ, fall in that picture?? And all those olive trees that he was importing??
        How did he cross the ocean?? Did he make rafts from those olive trees and sailed away?? Did the ocean seperate for a while, and he quickly run with those trees back and forth??
        I am very curious to know that. It is a very fascianting piece of history that you are mentioning. And completely unknown.

      • seafoid
        January 18, 2012, 1:39 pm

        He was Jewish so obviously he was a genius. He built the Kon Tiki and sailed on it from Teaneck using just the stars to guide him. A giant Star of David led him to his homeland. Which was totally empty and devoid of water.

      • dumvitaestspesest
        January 18, 2012, 2:02 pm

        Oh, you MUST write a book about it.
        It is such a beautiful and completely unknown story. Story of determination, courageousness, invention, and a proper star alignment.
        I think that Mr Gingrich could help you with doing more research.
        He got “equipped” with some extra money from very generous donors and he loves such stories. It would definately help him in his, “wanna, gonna be president” campaign , and I’m sure he would like to add this incredible story to the stories that he’s been already saying. I can picture him, already, doing it. Wow.

        P.S. I think I even found the movie of Morten Schweinstein sailing through the ocean. Quite a handsome man he was.

      • seafoid
        January 18, 2012, 5:00 pm

        He was know as Kunt Yikey

      • Mndwss
        January 18, 2012, 1:11 pm

        Cum grano salis.

  3. dumvitaestspesest
    January 18, 2012, 11:14 am

    They steal the land, they forcefully remove Palestinian people, they burn olive trees.
    It is no surprise that now they steal their olive oil and claim as their own.
    Thieves steal, liers lie,murderers murder, opportunists look for opportunity.

    • eljay
      January 18, 2012, 11:33 am

      >> They steal the land, they forcefully remove Palestinian people, they burn olive trees. It is no surprise that now they steal their olive oil and claim as their own.

      I think that’s just another of the many symptoms of a Holocaust-related “collective psychological complex”. ;-)

  4. Kathleen
    January 18, 2012, 11:23 am

    Dr. King would be all about the Palestinians.

    How many olive trees do illegal settlers cultivate and harvest from? Are these products part of a boycott?

  5. Shmuel
    January 18, 2012, 11:48 am

    Reminds me of Latma “humour”. I wonder whether Caroline Glick wrote the script.

    A settler relative of mine, who has (unsuccessfully) been trying to produce his own oil on stolen Palestinian land in the same area, brought me a bottle of this stuff. I wonder whether the “Arabs” in the clip noticed that the bottle says “Jewish labour” on it (your guarantee that the oil is 100% pure racist). If they missed it, it even says so on the company website (Hebrew): link to m-achiya.co.il

    I can’t tell you how the oil was, because ethnic cleansing and racist marketing tend to put me off my food.

    • sydnestel
      January 18, 2012, 12:53 pm

      The commercial is objectionable, and the olive oil company is racist.

      And it is also no doubt true that:

      “Zionism’s cultural appropriation [sic] of indigenous Palestinian folklore and cuisine – such as hummus, falafel and maftoul – as ‘Israeli’ has long irked Palestinians”

      But that does not mean the feelings – or more importantly the implications of viewing the Jews as temporary foreign implants – is justified. About 50% of Israeli Jews are from (or are descendant from parents or grandparents who are from) Middle Eastern lands where hummus, falafel, etc were always staples in their diets. Furthermore, after after 100+ years of Jewish settlement, even originally Ashkenazi Israeli Jews have become localized. To say that hummus etc is not an Jewish Israeli food, is akin to saying that corn on the cob is not quintessentially American (another settler society that adopted indigenous people’s food while suppressing the indigenous people)

      The point here is to acknowledge that though many Jewish Israelis came from somewhere else, at this point they are as much part of the local land and cuisine as the Palestinians. Both sides should stop making exclusive claims to possession of the land (and is foods.) Neither the Jews nor the Palestinians are going to leave. So fighting about who is more authentic is counter-productive.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2012, 1:30 pm

        To say that hummus etc is not an Jewish Israeli food, is akin to saying that corn on the cob is not quintessentially American

        corn ‘on the cob’ is not a prepared food since corn grows on a cob. corn is from the americas but it isn’t am ‘american food’ in the sense of being from the united states. it’s not what i would call ‘a dish’. israel wasn’t there until 50 years ago so the food people brought with them they brought from other countries. so no, olive oil is not israeli other than the fact you make it there now.

        Both sides should stop making exclusive claims to possession of the land (and is foods.)

        do you have any ideas for a joint flag while we are at it? have you ever heard of cultural genocide? there are palestinians food and customs that can be respected as such.

      • Keith
        January 18, 2012, 7:17 pm

        SYDNESTEL- “Furthermore, after after 100+ years of Jewish settlement, even originally Ashkenazi Israeli Jews have become localized.”

        Sorry, Syd, but Israel remains what it was created to be- a Eurocentric “Oasis” in Arabia. A country profoundly contemptuous of its neighbors. In other words, rather than Jews returning to some revered homeland, you have European Jews invading a foreign land which they proceeded to make over to more closely resemble their beloved Europe, modern buildings rather than traditional architecture, replacing olive trees with fir trees, etc.

        Over at CounterPunch, Jonathan Cook describes Israel as a “bunker state.” He says: “The new infiltration law is the latest in a set of policies fortifying Israel’s status as the world’s first “bunker state”- and one designed to be as ethnically pure as possible. The concept was expressed most famously by an earlier prime minister, Ehud Barak, now the defence minister, who called Israel “a villa in the jungle”, relegating the country’s neighbours to the status of wild animals.”
        link to counterpunch.org

      • pjdude
        January 19, 2012, 3:09 am

        its real easy to say share when your in group doing the stealing.

      • GalenSword
        January 19, 2012, 7:33 am

        A Jewish Arab from Morocco, Yemen, or Iraq has no more claim to Palestine than a Muslim Arab from Morocco, Yemen, or Iraq.

        There may have been mitigating circumstances in that Zionist Ashkenazim connived that Jewish Arabs come to stolen Palestine as an ersatz native collaborator population but nowadays they are just as invested in Zionist crime as invading Ashkenazim.

        In the kindest interpretation the Zionist colonial settler population is a heterogeneous pied noir population that should leave stolen and occupied Palestine.

    • Bumblebye
      January 18, 2012, 2:06 pm

      I can’t find where I saw it the other day, but yes, Latma had a part in the ad.

  6. Annie Robbins
    January 18, 2012, 11:59 am

    this reminds me of an israeli sesame street segment i saw not long ago where they visited a settlement and made the olive oil.

    yes, it kind of turned my stomach because the press they were using was very old, and it seemed a palestinian was the worker turning the press.

    here it is

    link to shalomsesame.org

    • Shmuel
      January 18, 2012, 1:31 pm

      Annie,

      The press shown in the Sesame Street video is in the “Biblical Landscape Reserve” of Neot Kedumim – on the Israeli side of the wall (and the Green Line), in the general vicinity of Budrus and Ni’ilin. It sits on land allocated by the Israel Land Administration in 1964. I don’t know the pre-’48 history of the land, although there are a number of “abandoned” Palestinian villages in the area, and the Reserve website offers visits to “the remains of an ancient village”.

      The project itself is disturbing, in that it seeks to create a direct Jewish (and Christian) link to the material culture and “landscape” of the Bible – somehow skipping over the continuous Palestinian presence in the land – in a way that W. J. T. Mitchell describes as form of idolatry:

      “The invisible, the unrepresentable, the transcendent is ‘represented’ by shaping a space devoid of figures, history, and legibility. The idol is the empty, depopulated landscape itself, the ‘natural scene’ in which ‘the Bible speaks in the language of nature,’ the altar on which the human sacrifice can be carried out.”

      — W. J. T. Mitchell, “Holy Landscape: Israel, Palestine and the American Wilderness”, Critical Inquiry (2000), 193-223 (p. 219).

      The Palestinian in the Sesame Street video (Musa the mule-owner), like the “Arabs” in the Latma-style ad is completely transitory and incidental to the supposed ancient Jewish presence in the land, existing only to serve the Jewish masters who have returned to claim “their” heritage.

      • seafoid
        January 19, 2012, 5:10 am

        “The invisible, the unrepresentable, the transcendent is ‘represented’ by shaping a space devoid of figures, history, and legibility. The idol is the empty, depopulated landscape itself, the ‘natural scene’ in which ‘the Bible speaks in the language of nature,’ the altar on which the human sacrifice can be carried out.”

        Super link, shmuel. but Israel is also hypercapitalist and under such a system nature and the landscape are to be exploited for economic growth. So Israel ends up destroying the land. The settlements with their sub florida style villas and their highways that tear apart the landscape are one symptom of the bipolar nature of Israeli thinking- reverence for the land that coexists with indifference towards the environment

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2012, 5:18 am

        Thanks, seafoid. The whole essay is worth a read. It’s available on Scribd:
        link to scribd.com

        Israel is also hypercapitalist and under such a system nature and the landscape are to be exploited for economic growth

        Who says a society can’t worship more than one idol?

    • split
      January 18, 2012, 11:24 pm

      By the way the treat the kid gets on the end is a Polish native pastry called paczki a ‘must’ on fat Thursday and got nothing to do with Jewish tradition ,…

      More in link ,…

      link to home.comcast.net

      link to mlive.com

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2012, 2:29 am

        By the way the treat the kid gets on the end is a Polish native pastry called paczki

        Oh yeah? And I say it’s a pontchke (Yiddish). So there. Then again, my daughter would tell you it’s a bomba.

        So is olive oil Palestinian or Israeli (or Italian or Greek or Albanian or Lebanese or Turkish)? I wouldn’t go quite as far as Sydnestel, because there is something very irritating about colonials “going native” – especially when they promote the foods in question as particular symbols of their own culture (e.g. “sabra”; brings to mind the biblical saying: “have you murdered and also inherited?”), but foods can and do belong to different cultures at the same time.

        I would add that in the case of Palestinians and olives, it is particularly enraging, because the destruction of olive trees and the denial of access to them (and in recent years, trafficking in them as well) has been an integral part of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Furthermore, emulation of certain aspects of Palestinian culture has been part of the Zionists’ attempt to prove their own “authenticity” and claim to the land since the beginning of Zionist settlement in Palestine. The settlers in the ad are merely continuing a long-standing Zionist tradition.

      • pjdude
        January 19, 2012, 3:13 am

        Oh yeah? And I say it’s a pontchke (Yiddish). So there. yes that’s the tiddesh word for it. but jews started eating them while in poland. hell the paczki dates back 500 600 years at least

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2012, 3:31 am

        So how do you explain the sfinj enjoyed by North African Jews on Hanukah? Or the grease and jam stains on the Hanukah liturgy in the Reggio MS of the Mahzor Vitry? Or that round, golden-brownish thing on countless Byzantine synagogue mosaics?

        Are you really suggesting that the Poles invented fried dough? That’s like saying that the Israelis invented olive oil (maybe they needed something to dress that first cherry tomato with).

      • tree
        January 19, 2012, 5:10 am

        I’m sorry to say you are both WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Neither the Poles nor the Jews invented paczki-pontchke. Fried dough sprung fully formed out of the Godhead and is proof of intelligent (and tasty) design, exactly like the banana (and the cucumber). Just ask Kirk Cameron.

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2012, 5:27 am

        OK, I didn’t want to have to reveal the truth, because none of you are initiates, but tree has left me no choice. Fried Dough did not spring from the Godhead for the simple reason that Fried Dough (known by many names) is the Godhead, although there have been different currents (or should that be currants?) throughout the ages regarding the nature and even the very existence of the Jam Filling. I’d rather not discuss the Butterscotch and Chocolate Heresies.

      • tree
        January 19, 2012, 5:59 am

        Fried Dough (known by many names) is the Godhead,

        :-0

        Does that make the Fried Dough, the Jam Filling and the Sugar Glaze the Holy Trinity?

        Good night, Shmuel, or rather good afternoon. I’m off to bed with a good chuckle. Thanks.

      • Hostage
        January 19, 2012, 6:07 am

        I’d rather not discuss the Butterscotch and Chocolate Heresies.

        Not to mention the libelous 3-in-1 doctrine which posits that a single molecule of living water could theoretically manifest itself as either a liquid, solid, or a gas, but that the Jews are keeping it all hidden under a bushel. That’s a metaphysical slippery slope that has to be nipped in the bud . . . ;-)

      • split
        January 19, 2012, 12:45 pm

        “And I say it’s a pontchke (Yiddish)” – Yiddish was “adopted” too , it’s a cocktail of German and Slavic languages :) ,…

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2012, 3:24 pm

        Yiddish was “adopted” too , it’s a cocktail of German and Slavic languages

        Here we go again. And English is a “cocktail” of Germanic languages and Norman French, and Polish is a “cocktail” of Slavic languages and German and Latin and Bóg knows what else.

      • pjdude
        January 20, 2012, 2:53 am

        no i’m not claiming the poles invented fried dough. calm down and put your jewish accomplishment boner away. but the dough in paczkis is different from most dough used in pastries so yeah I’m going to go out on a limb here suggest the polish invented their national pastry,

      • Shmuel
        January 20, 2012, 3:33 am

        PJ,

        I don’t give a damn who “invented” fried dough or jelly doughnuts or whether they were “originally” eaten on Fat Tuesday or Hanukah Monday. I don’t know or care whether pączki are exactly the same as krapfen or berliners or bombe or pontchkes or sufganiyot – or whether they are in fact the carefully distilled essence of the Polish soul. They are no less the Polish national pastry because Jews eat them on Hanukah, or because my daughter munches them in Rome on Saturday mornings.

  7. pabelmont
    January 18, 2012, 12:50 pm

    Olive trees take a long time to mature. Chances are — but who knows — a ny olive oil produced by settlers is produced from trees captured (as the land in which they grow is captured) by the strong and violent arm if the IOF. This use of the oil — if such it is — would be legal “usufruct” (use of the fruit) if it were taken by the IOF. But the settlers are present illegally.

    I’d BDS it. But then I’d BDS everything Israel, with the explanation that my BDS activity would terminate (and has nothing to do with calling Israel illegitimate) just as soon as the occupation ends and the exiles are allowed to return and the siege of Gaza ends and the wall is taken down (even if it is later put up on Israeli land), etc., in short just as soon as Israel stops its lawlessness.

    • seafoid
      January 18, 2012, 5:03 pm

      I think their attitude to the trees, with all those they have destroyed since 1967, says more about their respect for the actual Land of Israel/Palestine than any hasbara or prayers can.

      • MLE
        January 18, 2012, 10:32 pm

        I think their decision to plant non- native trees to the area and altering the landscape with little or no forethought to the long term consequences, as an attempt to prove how modern and sophisticated they are as opposed to the “primitive” local population is a strong indication of lack of respect for the land.

      • seafoid
        January 19, 2012, 5:17 am

        link to ticketbox.co.il

        Help Us Make the Carmel Green Again
        Emergency Campaign to Rehabilitate the Carmel Forests

        Millions of trees went up in flames in Israel’s worst fire ever!

        It will take decades to rehabilitate the burnt forests.

        Join KKL-JNF’s rehabilitation campaign now!

        Note: Donation amounts, which are based on the cost of planting trees, will be used for all types of forest rehabilitation activities.
        KKL-JNF’s Afforestation Work

        Israel’s forests and parks were not always here. The first Jewish settlers in the country, at the end of the 19th century, found a desolate land with not a mite of shade.

        Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to purchase land in Eretz Israel on behalf of and for the Jewish People. In 1904, in addition to this work, it embarked on a project to plant olive trees on the lands of Ben Shemen and Hulda, which it had recently purchased. The idea was to plant top-quality, fruit-bearing trees for which there was demand.

        And so began KKL-JNF’s foray into afforestation, an endeavor that continues to this day. In almost a century of hard work, KKL-JNF has planted more than 200 million trees on more than 900,000 dunams (225,000 acres; 90,000 ha) of land.

      • Popsiq
        January 22, 2012, 9:46 am

        Think of the wonderful spin off in ge-N-U-wine olive wood carvings that can be sold at a tidy prophet to the Christian tourists who want to buy something that was alive when Jesus was. A liddle settler ‘society’ set up to carve donkeys and crucifixions? … Or maybe use some cheap Arab labour and ‘merchandize’ their product for them…Big shekels in that stuff, just like the oil.

  8. Brewer
    January 19, 2012, 3:22 am

    Another day another olive grove:

    link to disinfo.com

  9. GalenSword
    January 19, 2012, 7:45 am

    Pączki are jelly doughnuts and of Polish origin. Sfinj, zalabia, beignets, and zeppoli are all very similar and but quite different from pączki.

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