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.