For nearly a month, the bloody conflict in Gaza has captured global attention and claimed nearly 2,000 lives, the New York Times reports — 1,878 Palestinians and 67 Israelis. While the conflict appears to be drawing to a close, some around the world have started another social media campaign to rally around a geopolitical crisis. The campaign for Gaza? Hummus selfies.
People all around the world are posting selfies with the chick-pea dip to remind us what Israelis and Palestinians have in common: a love of hummus.
"There has been much heated debate over who can claim ownership of the Levantine dip, but there’s no denying that Israelis and Palestinians both love the stuff. Hoping to build on that common bond, a group of British Jews has launched a campaign called ‘ChickPeace,’ encouraging people to take photos of themselves with hummus," Quartz reported.
The campaign was started by The Hummus Initiative, whose self-proclaimed purpose is to "fight against further importation of the hatred of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," according to its Facebook page. "Our movement aims to underline the commonalities between the two peoples in war instead of focusing on that which separates them. Through our selfies, we seek to counterweight the countless hate messages currently invading the social space."
But some are criticizing the campaign for being "silly" slacktivism. "Like most hashtag activism, #hummusselfies exists to 'spread awareness' to people who have little influence on decision-making between the interested parties. Instead of, say, collecting donations for the 260,000 Palestinians who have been displaced and left without access to water and electricity during the conflict," this campaign is simply raising awareness, which may do little to actually help the situation, a Vice blogger writes.
Whether Israel or Palestine can claim ownership of hummus is disputed. That dispute could serve more as a metaphor for the conflict itself, instead of a resolution to the conflict.
Liala El-Haddad, a Palestinian activist and co-author of The Gaza Kitchen, a book about the role of food in Palestinian culture, told Vice that "hummus kumbaya" is not likely to help in the conflict. "It’s not as simple as, 'We like hummus, you like hummus. Why can’t we all just get along?' We reject this notion that we can all bond over hummus while ignoring the underlying core issues: people’s fundamental rights and equalities. [The problem is] accepting one part of the other while ignoring the rest. In another context, I think people have no problem sharing their food, but when you begin to accept one part and willfully ignore another, there’s an issue."
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