Palestinian Ambassador to the U.K. Manuel Hassassian: As a Student I Hit an Israeli for Claiming Felafel Was the National Food of the Jews
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.K., said that during his student days in Ohio, he had assaulted an Israeli student who manned a booth in which felafel and hummus were presented as Israeli food. "I said to him: How dare you? You have robbed me of my land... and now you are stealing my folklore and my food," Hassassian recounted. The show, which aired on the Lebanese Al-Quds TV channel on October 25, included a skit in which the actor played a character who said that he hated the word "four" as it reminded him of "that lowlife British Zionist Balfour."
Manuel Hassassian: "Sadly, when we talk about the division [of Jerusalem into quarters], we do so because the Israelis have imposed this reality, by creating the Jewish Quarter, by [sending] settlers, by taking control of lands, and by claiming that their temple was there. Perhaps we can talk about this because there is no temple, and there is nothing Jewish in Palestine. This is an invention.
"There was an international day [at Toledo University, Ohio], and we, the union of the students of Palestine, participated, and presented our Palestinian folklore.
"When I came over to do my work at our booth, I saw that they had put the Israeli booth next to us. They had a 'State of Israel' sign, and I had a 'Palestine' sign. I saw that they were presenting falafel and hummus as the national food of the Jews. I said to him: How dare you? You have robbed me of my land and driven out my people, and now you are stealing my folklore and my food, claiming that this is your Jewish food? This is our food, the food of the Palestinian people. I won't allow this.
"He was insolent, of course, and I was a hot-headed 20-year-old, so I grabbed him and hit him. The security came, of course. You know, in the U.S., they call this an assault. Ultimately, the officer grabbed me and took me away, because I had beaten him up. They asked me why I did it, and when I told them, they said: 'Palestine should be proud of you,' and they released me."
[A skit presenting dialogue between husband and wife]
Wife: "I've made you a nice cup of tea, Abu Wissam, to calm you down."
Abu Wissam: "Bless you. Just at the right time. What do I see there on the tray? Is it a biscuit?"
Wife: "No, I got you some petit fours. They're good."
Wissam: "What did you say?! I've told you 1,000 times never to get me anything that ends with four. I don’t like it! I hate it! I even stopped liking the number 4 in English. I want to remove it from all the dictionaries, because it reminds me of that lowlife British Zionist Balfour. It reminds me of his declaration."
Wife: "You are right, Abu Wissam. But who is this Balfour? People says he's no good."
Wissam: "No good? That Balfour is the source of all our tragedies. Not just the tragedies – he caused the loss of Palestine. He was the one who drove us out and had us dispersed all over the world."