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We scoop the New York Times and Washington Post and publish– a recipe for Ramadan (Circassian Chicken)

Israel/Palestine
on 37 Comments
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What’s under that lid– for Ramadan?

One of our efforts at this website is to do to Islamophobia what was done to anti-Semitism over the last century: making its expression unacceptable in American mainstream culture. And while I can claim no position of leadership on this issue– I’ve had to be educated– some of our readers are leaders, and one wrote to me the other day from Europe with this insight: 

Ramadan begins Wednesday. The French papers all have feature stories about the quotidian aspects of the festival, and the French food pages and bloggers all have articles. It is the occasion of wonderful food journalism, as the Ramadan menus are very elegant, and many dishes are unknown, the constant quest of food writers. So where are the features in the US papers, food magazines, blogs?

Let me repeat that great sentence: “Ramadan is the occasion of wonderful food journalism, as the Ramadan menus are very elegant, and many dishes are unknown, the constant quest of food writers.”

So where are those questing foodies in the Washington Post and New York Times? Absent. The festival is mentioned in countless news stories, but it hardly exists as a source of cultural exploration.

This is as much as I could find in the Times, a Diner’s Journal of suggested readings. It contains one line, deep in the story, with a link to Ramadan recipes.

Food & Wine: Recipes for Ramadan. — Jeff Gordinier

The Washington Post does a little better. It has a three paragraph story urging readers to break their fast at Darna, a restaurant in Arlington, Va. But there is not a recipe in sight. (Last year the Post did offer a story about Ramadan food, with links to recipes, including dates with vermicelli.)

This omission is evidence of Islamophobia. It demonstrates that Muslims don’t register for the gatekeepers of American public culture. Imagine Christmas or Hanukkah coming in without a recipe in our leading papers.

This will change, and we aim to be part of the change.

So, drumroll please! From my friend in Europe:

This is a recipe for Circassian chicken from the great Kamal Mouzawak’s as yet untranslated cookbook, Delices des Mille et Une Nuits.

Kamal Mouzawak created the elegant Beirut restaurant Tawlet, which uses produce from farmers from all over Lebanon, and features the whole range of Lebanese cooking. Circassian chicken is cooked in varying versions in all the countries that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. It was one of the great dishes of the Turkish Imperial harem, supposed to be the creation of the Circassian women who were highly prized acquisitions.

Jordan has a number of distinctive versions, having received large numbers of Circassian refugees from the Russians (Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad), in the nineteenth century. You can see the relationship between this and a famous Georgian chicken and walnut dish, though this is a real palace dish, much more refined. I don’t need to tell you that you need the best walnuts you can find, the best milk, the best chicken.

For six: Preparation: 30 minutes  Cooking time: one hour

Ingredients:

One three pound chicken

4 slices of stale bread

10 tablespoons milk

4 cloves garlic

2 cups walnuts, plus 6-10 nuts for garnish

1 bouquet garni

1 onion

1 carrot

1 stalk of celery

2 bay laurel leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon paprika

2 sprigs of fresh coriander leaves

(Metric measures: 1 chicken, 1.5 kg, 15 cl milk, 250 g walnuts)

1. Bring the chicken to boil in just enough water to cover it. Skim the foam from the surface of the water when it comes to a boil. Add the bouquet garni, the onion, and the peeled carrot, the celery, the salt and the bay laurel leaves. Reduce the heat, and let the chicken cook over a low flame for 40 minutes.

2. Remove the cooked chicken from the broth, and allow it to cool. Then remove all the skin, and with your hands, shred the meat into fine threads. While you are shredding the meat, reduce and concentrate the broth over a high flame for about 15 minutes.

3. Grate the bread slices into crumbs, and soak them in the milk for 15 minutes. Using a mortar and pestle, or a food processor, pound the garlic and the walnuts together, until they form a paste, then add the milk-soaked bread, and incorporate it into the paste. Add the chicken broth to the paste, until you have a somewhat liquid mixture, the texture of yogurt. Add the shredded chicken, and mix until fully incorporated.

4. Spread the mixture on a platter; decorate with the paprika, walnuts, and coriander leaves. Serve at room temperature, accompanied by toasted pita or breadsticks.

Ramadam Karim
Ramadan Karim
philweiss
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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37 Responses

  1. just
    just
    July 12, 2013, 2:09 pm

    I guess I know what I’ll cook for dinner tomorrow!

    Sounds scrumptious—–I’ll have Basmati rice with mine, and a cool buttermilk/cucumber/mint drink on the side! Thanks to Phil and friend for the recipe and the effort to combat rampant American Islamophobia and distinct lack of respect for others.

    Ramadan Mubarak.

  2. Les
    Les
    July 12, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Meanwhile Netanyahu and company prefer to dine on an old favorite, roasted Palestinians.

    • Ludwig
      Ludwig
      July 12, 2013, 4:02 pm

      Les, I find that comment to be vile, reminiscent of blood libel and I believe it should be removed from this website.

    • Ludwig
      Ludwig
      July 12, 2013, 4:23 pm

      I would kindly ask the moderator to remove this highly offensive comment suggesting that the leader of Israel roasts and eats Palestinians.

      • Ludwig
        Ludwig
        July 12, 2013, 6:13 pm

        I admit, I am new to this site, but shouldn’t a comment accusing the Jewish leader of eating “Roasted Palestinians” be against the comment policy?!

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        July 13, 2013, 4:29 pm

        But he’s the Israeli leader, Ludwig. And doesnt the discourse of political satire include such gruesome allegations? I mean, I admit it’s not very nice, or pleasant. I seem to remember cartoons of other politicians with people in their mouths…

      • American
        American
        July 13, 2013, 5:43 pm

        Ludwig says:
        July 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        I admit, I am new to this site, but shouldn’t a comment accusing the Jewish leader of eating “Roasted Palestinians” be against the comment policy?!>>>>>>

        If it was a comment accusing a Arab, Persian, Muslim, etc leader of eating Jews would you be upset?
        Some Jews say nazis made soap out of dead jews….you think thats a bit overboard?
        Answer honestly…

      • talknic
        talknic
        July 13, 2013, 8:27 pm

        Oh well, now that everyone’s appetite is likely spoiled…

        @ Ludwig I admit, I am new to this site”

        Nothing you’re saying is new. It’s the same tired turgid twaddle expected of any apologist for Israel’s dispossession of non-Israelis from non-Israeli territory.

        ” shouldn’t a comment accusing the Jewish leader of eating “Roasted Palestinians” be against the comment policy?!”

        Since roasting Palestinians with some of the most modern equipment designed to roast and otherwise specifically slaughter humans seems to be OK, (while illegally preventing them from fleeing a war zone http://wp.me/pDB7k-11z ) and; dispossessing non-Jews and being in breech of International Law, the UN Charter, relative Conventions an hundreds of UNSC resolutions is OK http://wp.me/pDB7k-XU and; lies, false accusations, smears, illegal annexation, illegal settlements are all OK and it’s OK to depict non-Israeli Politicians eating their victims http://wp.me/pDB7k-16z , the short answer is … NO!

    • talknic
      talknic
      July 13, 2013, 4:39 am

      @ Les Not very tasteful (‘scuse the pun) .. even though it did prompt the usual knee jerk (‘scuse the pun) response.

  3. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    July 12, 2013, 4:34 pm

    I had this in Istanbul — delicious!

    • lysias
      lysias
      July 12, 2013, 6:55 pm

      I’ve had it in Istanbul too, and you’re right, it was delicious. But where it’s even better is when a Turkish family in the provinces cooks it for you.

  4. piotr
    piotr
    July 12, 2013, 5:25 pm

    A small correction: Tolstoi’s character is a Chechen noble. Both Chechens and Circassians are from North Caucasus, and both fought for decades with Russians. Chechens’ rebellion officially ended in 1859, and Chechens stayed where they lived. Circassians were fighting until 1864 and once defeated, most emigrated to Turkey (meaning, the Ottoman empire, including Syria, Lebanon and Palestine), having strong connections to Turkey and Arab lands under Ottoman rules. For example, many Mamluk rulers of Egypt were Circassian.

    Results of Google News Search (why Google News is so terrible! still it found something):

    Free Press Test Kitchen: 3 recipes for Ramadan
    Detroit Free Press-Jul 8, 2013
    For many Muslims in metro Detroit, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins at sunset tonight. The long days are marked with fasting and …

    Recipes for Ramadan: Beyond dates and lentil soup
    The Reporter-Jul 6, 2013
    As a child growing up in Yemen, Mohamed Aboghanem would stay up all night during Ramadan in anticipation of his mother’s bint al sahn, … [this is a bit more strange, a rural newspaper for Northern Pennsylvania, I guess it covers Lebanon County too, it is also a bit confusing: I know that some people would break the Ramadan fast with a cigarette, perhaps it can be shared with a girlfriend?]

    Same story in York Daily News (south-central Pennsylvania)

    5 Tips for Healthy Eating During a Summer Ramadan
    Huffington Post-22 hours ago
    In an effort not to spoil any cultural traditions in Ramadan foods, I’m not … raw cane sugar (turbinado) in your recipes, or eat fruits that are a bit …

  5. eljay
    eljay
    July 12, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Discussing Ramadan is what anti-Semites do who prefer not to:
    – “Remember the Holocaust!”™;
    – support the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” of Greater Israel; or
    – wipe Iran off the map and push it into the sea.

    Why do these people hate Jews so much?! :-(

  6. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    July 12, 2013, 7:19 pm

    “One of our efforts at this website is to do to Islamophobia what was done to anti-Semitism over the last century: making its expression unacceptable in American mainstream culture.” Okay, I guess I’d missed this as a stated purpose of the blog. Not that I don’t support the goal, just hadn’t that was what this blog is all about. That would explain why Arab Idol deserved so much coverage.

    I guess I’m less interested in culture wars than in politics and foreign policy. Are you changing the title: The War of Ideas and Culture in the Middle East? How far is that from a Clash of Civilizations? Maybe the web site should be called: The Integration of Ideas and Cultures in the Middle East?

    I guess I would prefer focusing laser-like on winning the political and foreign policy debate with the Neocons, certainly a task that hasn’t yet been accomplished, not until there’s some accountability for their criminal blunders. But maybe some tasty cold chicken will add fuel to the fight. And Mondoweiss can gain financial sustenance from revenue for a recipe book.

    • annie
      annie
      July 13, 2013, 3:20 pm

      That would explain why Arab Idol deserved so much coverage.

      exxxxcuuuuse me? mohammed assaf deserved so much coverage because he’s AWESOME!!

      besides, lucky me, i get to write about whatever i want (usually) and that’s what i wanted to write about. it wasn’t any part of an effort against islamophobia. it was simply a natural expression of what i initially perceived to be HUGE news, and over time i think my instincts were correct.

  7. miriam6
    miriam6
    July 12, 2013, 9:38 pm

    We scoop the New York Times and Washington Post and publish– a recipe for Ramadan (Circassian Chicken)

    Curiously, that most ‘heroic of heroic hacks,’ ( what, more than Woodward and Bernstein!? really!?) Philip Weiss seems to have taken GREAT care NOT to mention this little hot scoopette;

    Justice Minister Livni phones Abbas on occasion of Ramadan.

    Tzipi Livni conveyed her best wishes to the Palestinian president on the start of Islam’s sacred month of Ramadan, the first time she has called him since Israel’s new government was formed.

    Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also the minister responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians, called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday evening to convey best wishes on the occasion of the start of Islam’s sacred month…

    Heart-warming stuff.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/justice-minister-livni-phones-abbas-on-occasion-of-ramadan.premium-1.535477

    Ramadan begins Wednesday. The French papers all have feature stories about the quotidian aspects of the festival, and the French food pages and bloggers all have articles. It is the occasion of wonderful food journalism, as the Ramadan menus are very elegant, and many dishes are unknown, the constant quest of food writers. So where are the features in the US papers, food magazines, blogs?

    Here in Britain, Channel Four telly has chosen to devote a whole months worth of programming to the month of Ramadan.

    Offering a fresh perspective on Ramadan and the lives of British Muslims.

    Channel 4 is the first mainstream British TV channel to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer live each morning throughout the month-long religious festival of Ramadan.

    Sounds perfectly Scrumptious!

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/4ramadan/articles/ramadan-homepage

    • just
      just
      July 13, 2013, 3:42 pm

      You seem terribly bitter, miriam.

      I can’t remember when you had something nice or helpful to say.

      Good for Channel 4, the French, various other countries and Ms. Livni– too bad she did not see fit to visit the WB or Gaza in solidarity with her semitic brothers and sisters, break fast. and practice humility and self control.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      July 13, 2013, 4:54 pm

      @miriam. The lead of this article is: “One of our efforts at this website is to do to Islamophobia what was done to anti-Semitism over the last century: making its expression unacceptable in American mainstream culture”.
      It’s also in the headline and the rest of the article.
      So, an Israeli politician observes the niceties of diplomacy. Isn’t that her job along with advertising that to the world?
      Why is that news and what has that got to do with the article’s argument that mainstream America makes Islam and Arabs invisible?

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 16, 2013, 10:20 am

        Elliot said:

        .. what has that got to do with the article’s argument that mainstream America makes Islam and Arabs invisible?

        Weiss’s article seems more and more disingenuous to me.

        No mention by Weiss about Obama’s greetings to Muslims on Ramadan.

        I had a look through various American media-sites over the last couple of years and found plenty of references to Ramadan, plus recipes.

        Of course Weiss in his typically self-congratulatory way, does have an ideological axe to grind here.

        That Muslims are ‘invisible’ in U.S. life.

        Horseshit.

        Even that archetypal and iconic American behemoth purveyor of fast food Mc Donalds has taken note of Ramadan.

        I suppose Mc Donalds is too low brow for Weiss.

        Too populist, and of the masses , to suit his snobbish tastes.
        http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/06/28/4985247/cair-offers-guide-to-help-muslims.html

        Ramadan Recipe: Baba Ghanouj Salad
        By Recipe courtesy Suzanne Husseini,
        ‘Modern Flavors of Arabia’

        http://www.mercurynews.com/digital-first-media/ci_23486962/ramadan-recipe-baba-ghanouj-salad

        http://www.tmcnet.com/tmcnet/tmchome.htm

        http://sjdahlman.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/american-ramadan/

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saveur/ramadan-breaking-fast-wit_b_711342.html

        Who wouldn’t love to end a long day with sparkling lemonade, dried figs, and medjool dates? That is what 200 lucky Muslim men and women enjoyed as they broke their fasts with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Annual State Department Iftar in Washington, D.C., on September 7, one of the last nights of Ramadan. Muslims around the world have spent much of August and part of September fasting from sunrise to sunset for the holy month. Iftar is the term used to describe the meal that breaks each day’s fast during Ramadan.
        The pan-cultural group of American Muslims who’d gathered in Washington enjoyed a menu that mixed Western ingredients like puff pastry and Brie with Middle Eastern staples such as saffron and halal lamb…

        McDonald’s Recognizes Ramadan.

        Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, began last Monday, July 8.

        Recognizing this period, some international McDonald’s outlets are offering menuThe global fast-food behemoth advertised the combos on the McDonald’s Malaysia and McDonald’s Egypt sites.
        The McDonald’s Arabia site opens with a special greeting, wishing their patrons a “hearty Iftar and a wonderful Ramadan specials”

        http://www.thedailymeal.com/mcdonald-s-celebrates-ramadanhttp://www.hungrygowhere.com/recipes/3-recipes-for-ramadan-*aid-bc573f00/http://preps.tampabay.com/news/religion/fasting-is-no-escape-from-kitchen-during-ramadan/1028753http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/breaking-the-fast-with-spiced-chickpeas/http://www.chron.com/life/food/article/A-date-cookie-for-Ramadan-1601623.phphttp://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2012/07/this-weeks-recipes-from-the-la-times-test-kitchen-1.html

        Knock yourselves out!

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        July 17, 2013, 12:43 am

        @Miriam
        “Even that archetypal and iconic American behemoth purveyor of fast food Mc Donalds has taken note of Ramadan.”

        The quote you included to support this argument is all about McDonalds outside the U.S. Actually, all the countries that your quote references are Muslim countries.

        What has that got to do with the invisibility of Muslims in leading MSM? Your other quotes don’t provide any answer to that charge either.

        Hanukkah gets a USPS stamp and menorah lighting in the heart of Washington; Passover gets a presidential dinner; Rosh Hashanah – official greetings and so on.
        How does Islam rate compared to all that?
        C’mon.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 17, 2013, 1:00 pm

        [email protected]:

        Hanukkah gets a USPS stamp and menorah lighting in the heart of Washington; Passover gets a presidential dinner; Rosh Hashanah – official greetings and so on.

        How does Islam rate compared to all that?
        C’mon.

        C’mon Elliot,

        you are a touch disingenuous here.

        America IS a nation said and generally agreed upon, to be founded on Judeo-Christian foundations.

        NOT Judeo-Christian-Islamic foundations.

        Therefore, presumably , why no USPS stamp featuring Ramadan symbols.

        This is all part and parcel of America’s very own ‘culture wars’ arguments.

        The fact is perhaps America MIGHT be re-christened Judeo-Christian-Islamic when you, and Weiss ,present a point of view that convinces a MAJORITY in America and WINS the ‘culture war’..

        That’s the fair way to do it.

        By fair argument.

        You evidently need better arguments , because according to your and Weiss’s complaints, you haven’t persuaded the people with your ARGUMENTS.

        That’s what you need to do.

        Rather than complaining that failure to provide a USPS stamp featuring Ramadan etc. shows Islamophobia.

        It does nothing of the sort.

        Proven cases of discrimination AGAINST Muslims in terms of employment rights, access to housing, medical care or ill- treatment by the police etc. CAN be seen as evidences of prejudice against Muslims.

        Complaining, and using an example like that, that there are no Presidential dinners at Ramadan , or Ramadan recipes featured on the New York Times is just plain silly, and no evidence of Islamophobia.

        Yours and Weiss’s approach seems very anti-democratic to my mind.

        You both want to place the argument above democratic/ political debate and FORCE a particular ‘politically correct ‘ opinion ‘ on your fellow American citizens.

        You win the argument amongst the greater American public why America should be considered founded upon Judeo-Christian-Islamic -foundations , all well and good, until then, you, Weiss, have no particular reason to complain.

        Incidentally, given your ‘ penchant for inclusivity,

        Why stop at Islam then?

        Why not the 15 OTHER religions mentioned here at this BBC website?

        (including Atheism, )

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar

        Plenty of mentions of Islam and other religions, by American Presidents;
        here :

        ( Incidentally, only quoting from salon due to lack of time writing this comment, due to the fact this thread is about to close)

        John Tyler, in an 1843 letter:
        “The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent — that of total separation of Church and State.
        No religious establishment by law exists among us.
        The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment.
        The offices of the Government are open alike to all.
        No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith.
        The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him.
        Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions.”

        http://www.salon.com/2009/04/14/christian_nation/

        Here’s George Washington in a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790: “The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support … May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

        Culture wars

        only America has called itself Judeo-Christian.
        America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values.
        Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judeo-Christian

    • libra
      libra
      July 13, 2013, 5:29 pm

      miriam6: Curiously, that most ‘heroic of heroic hacks,’ ( what, more than Woodward and Bernstein!? really!?) Philip Weiss…

      Oh dear, Phil’s Circassian Chicken has stuck in Miriam’s throat. Did he leave a bone in?

    • American
      American
      July 13, 2013, 6:24 pm

      ‘Curiously, that most ‘heroic of heroic hacks,’ ( what, more than Woodward and Bernstein!? really!?) Philip Weiss seems to have taken GREAT care NOT to mention this little hot scoopette;….miriam

      Weiss being a journalist is concentrating on the US press…….the US public is ‘ground zero’ in the Isr-zio war to margnalize, demonize or disappear all things human about Palestines and Muslims.

      You’ve mostly lost the publics of other countries and you’re losing here too bit by bit.
      Let me tell you…you are going to lose this in the end and the more damage Isr does along the way to that defeat the worse it’s gonna be on it……if you had any sense at all you would be demanding Isr ‘reform’ now….not later.

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 14, 2013, 2:02 am

        [email protected]:

        Weiss being a journalist is concentrating on the US press..

        Oh dear, American, what a weak excuse you offer as a defence of Phil Weiss’s bitter-minded petty attitude in NOT mentioning Livni’s phone call to Mahmoud Abbas conveying best wishes on the occasion of the start of Islam’s sacred month.

        (Of course I suspect you and Philip Weiss too, may be rather bitter about, and rather jealous in your misanthropic ways ,of any sign of closeness or overtures of friendship between Israelis and Palestinians, diplomatic or otherwise.)

        Are you seriously claiming the US press is SO parochial it IGNORES world/ international news, including that from Israel?

        Whether Israel is losing support amongst an international public (incidentally at the same time , that doesn’t mean international public support for Palestinians is high – it isn’t) is really besides the point.

        Israel has good relations with the countries that MATTER – China, America , and is still well regarded by the American public too, as I will show later in my comment.

        ( although .. according to this article from All Africa News , apparently Israel is getting on well with plucky Angola, which fought , with glorious Fidel Castro’s Cuban assistance AGAINST apartheid South Africa – and won!

        Angola:Relations With Portugal, Brazil ,ISRAEL and CHINA Good – President

        The Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos, considered good the relations with Israel, Brazil, Portugal and China, for the development of Angola.
        http://allafrica.com/stories/201306080156.html
        In an interview broadcast Thursday with the Portuguese television station “SIC”, the statesman said that “the relations with Israel are very good” and developed in various areas, from financial and economic, political and diplomatic, as the two countries consult on international issues.

        China is rising as the world’s next superpower.

        Israel has good relations with China.

        Chinese vice premier pledges closer relations with Israel.

        Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Beijing Tuesday, to discuss bilateral ties.
        Li hailed the healthy growth of China-Israel relations over the years, citing frequent political exchanges, enhanced trade links and agriculture and technology cooperation, as well as increasing people-to-people contacts.
        Calling military cooperation an important part of the cooperation between the two countries, Li suggested the two countries’ armed forces further enhance understanding, learn from each other and share helpful experiences.
        He vowed joint efforts with Israel to consolidate traditional friendship, deepen cooperation in various areas, and promote even greater achievements of bilateral relations.
        “The Middle East issue has long been a hot topic of the world,” Li said, adding the recent unrest in West Asia and North Africa had added new and complicated factors for the efforts to advance the Middle East peace process.
        While expressing appreciation of China’s positive role on the Middle East issue and thanking China for doing so, Barak hoped that Israel would expand friendly cooperation with China in areas ranging from politics, economy, agriculture, science and technology, to the military field.
        Source: Xinhua

        http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7410204.html

        Both China and Russia, working AGAINST America and European influence in the mid east region have shown their political muscle with their policy over the Civil War/ implosion of Syria ( though probably not with this best outcome for the long-suffering Syrian people).

        America’s influence in the Mid -East is in decline anyway.

        Of course , with all the ‘sense’ you apparently have, no doubt you are aware of that.

        A demonstration of America’s declining influence in the Middle East region has been, for example- indirect- peace talks on the future of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights , mediated by Turkey, between Syrian and Israeli negotiators in 2008.

        SYRIA AND ISRAEL DISCUSS GOLAN IN TURKEY.

        Israel has sent two negotiators to take part in Turkish-mediated talks with Syria on the contentious issue of the Golan border region.

        This is the fourth set of such discussions since Turkey offered to facilitate contact last May.

        JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dispatched two top aides to Turkey on Tuesday for a fourth round of indirect peace talks with Syria, an Israeli official said.
        Israel and Syria launched Turkish-mediated talks in May but have not yet agreed to hold face-to-face negotiations.
        Turkish officials have said the long-time foes will decide during the fourth round whether to move to direct talks starting in August.
        The Israeli official, who asked not to be named, named the aides as Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turjeman.
        They have been leading Israel’s first talks with Syria in eight years.
        Negotiations centre on the fate of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Damascus demands the return of all the Golan.
        Israel, in turn, wants Syria to scale back ties with the Jewish state’s main foes — Iran, Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah.
        Syria has so far refused to do so.

        http://www.france24.com/en/20080729-syria-israel-talks-golan-turkey-peace

        Take note [email protected]

        These negotiations were undertaken by the Syrians and the Israelis, with Turkish mediation, and America had no involvement.

        To re-cap my earlier point about America’s declining influence in the Mid -East region , those 2008 peace talks between Syria and Israel, mediated by the Turks , serves to underline how Middle Eastern nation states are nowadays perfectly capable of undertaking to resolve long- running issues between THEMSELVES , WITHOUT diplomatic input from America.

        You say Israel is losing support in America.

        Not so, as these polls demonstrate.

        CONTINUING A LONG – TERM – TREND – Americans sympathize more with Israelis than Palestinians by a 67 to 16 percent margin according to a CNN poll conducted in late May following Barack Obama’s May 19 speech on the state of the Middle East peace process.
        Sympathy with Israel is up slightly from 60 percent in 2009.
        At the same time, 65 percent of the public says the United States should not take either side in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Among the rest of the public, 35 percent say the U.S. should take Israel’s side while just 1 percent favors backing the Palestinians.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/behind-the-numbers/post/poll-watchers-twitter-israel-and-palestinians-newt-gingrich/2011/05/11/AG2P1IHH_blog.html

        Israel Support in U.S. Unchanged in Wake of Gaza Conflict

        For decades, the public has sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians and that remains the case today.
        Overall, five times more Americans sympathize with Israel than the Palestinians.
        In a survey conducted after last month’s conflict between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza, 50% said they sympathize more with Israel, compared with just 10% who said they sympathize more with the Palestinians.
        Almost a quarter (23%) did not offer an opinion while 13% volunteered that they sympathize with neither side, and 4% said both.
        In May, 48% sided with Israel compared to 11% who backed the Palestinians.
        There continue to be stark partisan differences in Middle East sympathies. Conservative Republicans maintain strong support for Israel, with fully 75% saying they sympathize with Israel compared with just 2% who sympathize with the Palestinians.
        By contrast, liberal Democrats are much more divided: 33% sympathize more with Israel, 22% with the Palestinians.
        Independents sympathize more with Israel by a 47% to 13% margin.
        Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants remain strongly supportive of Israel.
        Two-thirds (67%) say they sympathize more with Israel; only 5% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.
        Opinion among other religious groups is more mixed.
        Catholics, for example, offer more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians by a 44% to 11% margin.
        Read more..

        http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/israel-support-in-u-s-unchanged-in-wake-of-gaza-conflict/

        ABC poll:

        Most Americans want U.S. to stay out of Israeli-Palestinian talksABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday also finds that 55 percent of Americans sympathize with Israel, compared to 9 percent that side with Palestinians.
        Most Americans, regardless of political sympathies, believe the United States should cease its intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian talks, an ABC poll released on Monday reveals.

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abc-poll-most-americans-want-u-s-to-stay-out-of-israeli-palestinian-talks.premium-1.510025

        Furthermore, again, on the subject of Ramadan:

        Muslims on Twitter outraged over Obama’s Ramadan wishes

        Muslims on Twitter are expressing their outrage after President Obama tweeted his Ramadan wishes Monday night.

        “‘I wish Muslims across America & around the world a month blessed with the joys of family, peace & understanding,’ —President Obama #Ramadan,”

        But some Muslims are thinking the president’s greeting was not so sincere.
        “My mom just told me that Barack Obama wished all Muslims a happy Ramadan, I told her that maybe he should stop killing us too,” one user wrote.
        Many of those criticizing the president had issue with the forced feeding of Guantanamo Bay detainees during Ramadan fasting, as well as drone strikes in the Middle East, calling him a “hypocrite” and “insincere,” Twitchy reported.
        “I am assuming Obama’s greetings to Muslims wrt Ramadan are also directed at Muslims he will be force feeding at #GTMO during that month,”one user wrote.

        Read more:

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/9/muslims-twitter-outraged-over-obamas-ramadan-wishe/#ixzz2YzBMPSZC

      • just
        just
        July 16, 2013, 6:53 am

        Dream on, miriam. The Washington Times? Really?

      • miriam6
        miriam6
        July 17, 2013, 12:23 pm

        What’s wrong with quoting The Washington Times?
        Click on the link

  8. jon s
    jon s
    July 13, 2013, 2:49 am

    Recipe does look good….but people who keep kosher can’t use it. Can there be a substitute for the milk? (soymilk?)

    • just
      just
      July 13, 2013, 3:44 pm

      I’ve often used veg stock or soy milk or silken tofu as a substitute for dairy when cooking for my observant and lactose- sensitive friends. Stale bread will soak it all up and thicken the dish beautifully. You may not get the very pale color, but you will get delightful flavor and texture.

  9. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    July 13, 2013, 3:14 am

    This sounds very good. It is similar to fesenjan, a Persian poultry, walnut stew made with pomegranate concentrate that I have prepared many times. Many different recipes out there including some great vegetarian dishes that use egg plant. I will try this Circassian recipe, it looks like it could be easily adapted for a vegetarian dinner.

    • talknic
      talknic
      July 13, 2013, 4:42 am

      @ToivoS

      A paltry thanks on behalf of Persian poultry

    • just
      just
      July 16, 2013, 7:00 am

      Eggplant is the best veg! Pomegranate rules! Thanks, ToivoS, for your wonderful ideas.

  10. annie
    annie
    July 13, 2013, 3:16 pm

    check out this photo of the most delicious looking spicy lubya!

    http://instagram.com/p/btTW14oOBS/#

    now i am i’m really hungry;)

  11. Helena Cobban
    Helena Cobban
    July 14, 2013, 9:35 pm

    Or of course you could check out all the fab recipes in Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt’s great Gaza Kitchen cookbook. It’s in English. It’s published here in Virginia, USA. Laila lives and is celebrating Ramadan with her family in Maryland… Phil, you don’t need to go to Europe for great recipes!

  12. just
    just
    July 16, 2013, 6:55 am

    Thank you Helena!

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