Saturday, 10 November 2012
Harvard Business School Is "Deeply Troubled" By Israeli Buffet Table

Harvard 'deeply troubled' by row over Israeli buffet


Business School responds to former student's criticism, description of Israeli dining station as affront to Arabs.

The Harvard Business School is "deeply troubled" for having offended Arab sensibilities due to the mischaracterization of various foods appearing on the menu of the dining room's Israeli Mezze Station, Brian Kenny, chief marketing & communications officer of the school, was quoted by Al-Arabiya English as saying Friday.

The controversy over the Israeli food station arose after Lebanese Harvard graduate Sara el-Yafi on October 28 posted to her Facebook page a letter of protest to the university describing the Israeli buffet's menu as an affront to Arabs, as Hummus and Couscous, for example, are not of Israeli origin.

"That 'Israeli Mezze Station' is the ultimate multicultural, multireligious 'f'-you in the face of ALL Arabs at once from North Africa to the Levant," Yafi wrote.

"Israel already has a hard time keeping face in the Arab world for the way it has 'appropriated' its lands since 1948, don't make it worse for them by having them appropriate other peoples' foods as well," she added.

Yafi also pointed out that Halloumi was in fact "Cypriot," and therefore "until Cyprus becomes another conquered Israeli territory, Halloumi is considered NOT Israeli."

She concluded that at the very least the buffet should be renamed "Mediterranean Mezze Station."

In response to Yafi's Facebook protest, which as of Friday had garnered more than 4,500 "likes," the Harvard Business School communications officer Brian Kenny reportedly said that “we are deeply troubled that we offended anybody by doing this buffet item, particularly considering that our reason for doing the international buffet each day is to celebrate cultural diversity.”

“We've been following the comments and the [Facebook] posts," Kenny continued, which have "prompted us to have some extensive conversations here understand how this happened and to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Posted on 11/10/2012 10:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
10 Nov 2012

Selected JPost comments:

johngilbert  2 hours ago

Since Sara is a Jewish name, should her first name be considered stolen from our Jewish culture just like she considers the food to be stolen from her Arab culture? This question has got to be asked too?

Valentina  3 hours ago

Couscous is Berber not Arab . Arabs murdered Berbers for 150 years, appropriated their lands, raped their women, outlawed their language, and now stole their foods. Ask any Berber in private what they think of Arabs.

Kal Palnicki  4 hours ago

I guess it imperative that anything with the name Israel be disparaged. After all Jews must remain second class beings. Muslim mass murderers are simply holy warriors acting on behalf Allah who seems to be impotent these days and needs psychopathic killers to do his bidding

Lynda Janzen  5 hours ago

What's really interesting is to see the reaction of this Ivy League university. Oh no! We've offended a Muslim. How terrible. Round up the usual suspects and lay blame as soon as possible!!!

10 Nov 2012

  I hope the Jewish alums find better uses for their donations than Harvard B-school, like maybe buying large quantities of Israeli food products for the local food shelter.

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