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Harvard 'deeply troubled' by row over Israeli buffet

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
November 9, 2012 20:45

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

Menu of Israeli Mezze Station

Israeli Mezze Station 370. (photo credit:Courtesy)

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 and communications officer of the school, was quoted by Al-Arabiya 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 such foods as humous and couscous are not of Israeli origin.



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“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,” el- 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.

El-Yafi also pointed out that haloumi cheese is in fact “Cypriot,” and therefore “until Cyprus becomes another conquered Israeli territory, haloumi is considered NOT Israeli.”

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

In response to el-Yafi’s Facebook protest, which as of Friday had garnered more than 4,500 “likes,” 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 internally... to understand how this happened and to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
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