Quora And The Case Of The Invisible Hummus Eaters

So there I was, minding my own business, when I got a notification from Quora, that I had been asked, as an expert on “Palestine” (nyuh uh uh) to answer this question:

Do Israelis and Palestinians both eat hummus?

Now, I knew what this was, because I’d seen it before. This was an attempt at disseminating the false notion that there is a people indigenous to the Jewish homeland called “Palestinians.” It’s a tactic that came into popular use during the past two decades or so, in which the term is inserted wherever possible.

By now, the term “Palestinian” is widely, if erroneously used to describe the Arabs who claim Israel as exclusively their own territory. The more the term has been used in conversation, the more its use has become acceptable, until it is now part and parcel of the conversation. The question about hummus had been posed by someone whose profile picture is a “Palestinian” flag, which helped to confirm what I had intuited: that the question was nothing more than a ploy: the sly insertion of false propaganda into a public forum.

Quora Hummus Question2

I thought for a moment and then hastily typed the following:

No such thing as a Palestinian. Maybe they eat invisible hummus.

Quora Hummus Question

Not long after, I received a message from Quora stating that moderators had flagged and locked my response as not responsive to the question. Hmm. That was a first.

There was an address for submitting an appeal. At first I thought, “Nah. Why bother? So they don’t have a sense of humor. So what?”

But then I thought, hey! No way. I’m going to fight this thing and teach those moderators some history, gosh darn it.

So I sent the following appeal:

To the Moderators:

My answer was flagged and I’d like to appeal your decision.

While it is true that my answer was not exactly responsive to the question, it was the only possible answer to a question that assumes facts not in evidence.

While it has become popular to refer to the Arabs in Israel as “Palestinians,” this is actually a misnomer, which is used to lend legitimacy to the claim that these Arabs are indigenous to the territory in question.

Even a very broad perusal of the history of the territory in question and of the two peoples that make claims to the land will show that there never was a Palestinian people.

The name “Syria Palestina” was applied to the land of Israel by the Romans, as a means of insulting the indigenous people of the territory, the Jews. The Romans had occupied the territory and this was their way of rubbing it in to the Jews who had lived in the land since the time of Abraham the biblical patriarch. 

The name “Syria Palestina” was eventually shortened to “Palestine.” 

During the British Mandate, the identity cards of the Jews who lived in “Palestine” were stamped with the nationality: “Palestinian.”

My cousin Prof. Ephraim Kehat, Professor Emeritus of the Chemical Engineering Department at the Haifa Technion once showed me a scan of his British Mandate identity card. His nationality on this document is listed as “Palestinian” because he was born and raised in Mandate Palestine. But he is a Jew and he served in the Palmach during Israel’s War of Independence. 

During the past two decades, the Arabs took to using the term “Palestinian” to describe themselves to lend legitimacy to their claim that this was THEIR land and not the land of the Jews. But it’s merely a propaganda device with no basis in reality.

When I was asked to answer the question, I noted the “Palestinian” flag displayed as the profile photo of the person who posed the question and immediately came to the conclusion that the question was asked in a public forum for the specific purpose of furthering this false idea: that there is an Arab people who are “Palestinians” who have indigenous rights to Jewish territory, with the Jewish claim going back, thousands of years, and certainly to well before the advent of Islam. 

It was propaganda, posed as a question. As such, I both deflated the erroneous notion by saying that the “Palestinians” are an invented people, and made a little joke to lighten the atmosphere. I am sure that my followers would find my answer both humorous AND responsive to the question by way of busting the false message it poses.

I hope you will reconsider your position and unlock my response, which, if nothing else, refutes a false notion in an inoffensive manner, without resorting for instance, to profanity or name-calling. 

For more on the history of how the region became known as “Palestine” see: http://thebayviewreview.com/2012/12/12/a-brief-history-of-palestine/ and: http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/119383

For more on the origins of the Arabs calling themselves “Palestinian” see: http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~peters/mixed.html

For more on the impact of words and terms on the Middle East conflict, see: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/06/27/israel-is-engaged-in-a-war-of-words/


Varda Epstein

Efrat, Israel

“No matter how short your wife is, lean down and take her advice.”

Bava Metzia 59a


Varda Epstein

A third-generation-born Pittsburgher on her mother’s mother’s side, Varda moved to Israel 36 years ago and is a crazy political animal who spams people with right wing political articles on Facebook in between raising her 12 children and writing about education as the communications writer at Kars for Kids a Guidestar gold medal charity.