Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Psychological Warfare | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israel always succeeds in dragging us away from core issues to be preoccupied by marginal ones, such as the “hummus” or “falafel” war that is currently raging between Lebanese chefs and the Israeli intelligence’s psychological warfare department. This is because I doubt that Israeli chefs are responsible for their rivalry with us over cooking the largest falafel dish or fighting over the origin of “hummus” but rather this is a game to drag us to marginal issues and deflect our attention away from what is happening in the major arena.

As Arabs, why are we concerned with competing with Israel on issues such as “hummus” and “falafel” whilst ignoring competition in the fields of industry, scientific research, educational and military excellence, and other fields that should be a priority in the competition between us and the Israelis?

If the issue was limited to the origin of dishes like “hummus” or “falafel” or “tabbouleh” or “fattoush” than things would be much simpler, however what is more dangerous than this is that we are more concerned with recovering these dishes than we are towards recovering Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Shebaa Farms, and other occupied lands. The reality is that these dishes will always be ours, and it does not matter what the Guinness Book of World Records says for we live on “hummus” and “falafel” and “Ful Medames” [Fava beans] and other such dishes.

Our story of being concerned with marginal issues at the expense of core issues, resembles the old joke “they stole the safe, Abu Lama, but don’t worry, the key is with me!”

This is close to the story of a sick man who was given instructions on how to make a potion that could cure any infirmary. The man put these instructions in his pocket and went out to buy the ingredients required to make this, and these included cumin, ginseng, honey lotus, and other ingredients which he wrapped up safely in a package. However just as the man was returning home to make this potion a crow snatched this package from him and flew away. The man began to laugh hysterically imagining the crow’s disappointment at not finding instructions on what to do with these ingredients.

There can be no doubt that Israel is carrying out a psychological war in order to confuse and embarrass us and preoccupy us with marginal issues. This psychological war even saw a singer named Raheela appearing [on Arab television] to sing Arabic songs like “Ya Tayeb al-Qalb” and “Tizkar” and others. However after we took the bait and met her, she appeared on Israeli television speaking Hebrew, with the Israeli broadcaster gleefully announcing that Raheela was appearing from Tel Aviv.