Portland Food Activists Call Israeli Restaurant Appropriative

Stories like this make my head hurt.

Mexican food is my favorite food. Does that mean I should only eat it in restaurants operated by Mexicans?

Forward: …a restaurant called Shalom Y’all sits in the problematic “Appropriative Business” column. Its owner is listed as John Gorham, its cuisine, “Multiple Middle Eastern Cuisines.” The suggested alternative: a Lebanese establishment, Al-Amir Restaurant.

According to the spreadsheet’s “Criteria for Appropriation” guide, the “Appropriative Business” column is for “[r]estaurants or food carts selling non-European international cuisine owned solely by white people who were not born or raised in the country or region from which the restaurant’s cuisine originates.” As per Shalom Y’all’s website, Shalom Y’all specializes in “Israeli street food.” Ron Avni, one of the partners, important enough to be featured on the restaurant’s About page, “grew up in Israel” and “moved to the USA shortly after completing the mandatory Israeli army service.” If a co-owner is Israeli, as is the cuisine, surely the criteria for making the list aren’t met? It would seem that either spreadsheet’s creators missed that key detail, or they’re making an out-of-context political point about Israeli cuisine.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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