Debbie is an American attorney, film critic, political commentator, and ultra conservative blogger who focuses in her writing on Islam and American Muslims. She frequently targets the largely Muslim population of her hometown Detroit suburb, of Dearborn, which she refers to as "Dearbornistan". Her columns are often provocative and controversial, specifically those detailing with, what she considers, the unsavoury elements of Islam, the objectionable activities of American Muslims, illegal immigrants, as well as liberal and "faux-conservative" politicians. She has appeared on FOX TV and CNN as a conservative commentator. Schlussel's columns have been published in the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Jerusalem Post, amongst others. She achieved some notoriety because of an editorial in the Wall Street Journal accusing Morgan Spurlock (who produced the documentary series 30 Days and film Super Size Me) of unbalanced and faulty methods in achieving the results for the television show. Schlussel wrote about the 2011 Norway attacks that while she doesn't "condone violent massacres on innocent civilians" and condemned their killer, she thought that "I'm not sad for either side... Now these kids' families know what it feels like to be victims of the Islamic terrorists whose Judenrein boycotts and terrorist flotillas against Israel they support". She also stated, "I don't get too upset when they face the karma that is their fate".
Via her blog, Schlussel has also written extensively on the 'Hummus War', claiming that hummus is an Israeli/Hebrew food dating back to bible times; "...and was invented by the Jews, not the Arabs, as is conventionally assumed. It's bad enough, they want to steal Israeli land. Now they want to steal its food".
more links below
Detroit, Michigan - October 2011
Tell me about some of the more heavy blogs you get, and comments made about you?
Okay, there are a number of Muslims who leave me, like, regularly, very anti-Semitic, anti-American, and really anti anything that's not Muslim comments. And I, at first, used to ban them. But then I decided that the world needs to see, you know, this is not a peaceful religion. This is the kind of things that Muslims say.
And I think that that, for the most part, has been working, because people see this, and, you know, the-these are not people that edit anything they're saying. They just say what they think. And it's very violent, and very...you know, my life has been threatened several times because of my website.
I've gotten email death threats. I've gotten telephone call death threats. And it's pretty scary.
What sort of things do people say?
Well, like for example, today, let me see...shoot, oh there it is, okay...
'Today, somebody named A------ says, 'You will never win this war against Muslims, Debbie Steen. Pigs can't win'. And then he writes, 'World War Two, we should do it again'. And he writes, 'I meant, six million Jews was not enough'.
Stuff like that. That's the kind of the thing that I get from people. I can show you some of the things that people have sent me. It's pretty scary. Let's see...I get this guy named D- ------ who is a Muslim immigrant to the United States. He lives in the New York area. And he sent me a picture of Daniel Pearl, telling me that I would be next. I posted that on my site. Let's see...
What about in response to your writings about hummus? Have you had any extreme comments?
Not really. Just people who will disagree with the stuff that I've written. Like, they'll say, 'Oh we invented hummus. The Jews didn't invent it. That's our food'. And, you know, they...I've wrote [sic] about the...they had this fight between the Israelis and the Lebanese about who could have the world's record in the largest vat of hummus, which to me, is kind of...I wrote about it. But it...the bottom line is, nobody cares. It doesn't really establish anything, if you had the largest vat of hummus.
It's more; if you are a society that accepts secularism as well religious people, that accepts multiculturalism in terms of (I'm against multiculturalism per se) but accepts people have different faiths, and doesn't preach that one faith like Islam is supreme, and we have to bend over backwards for them, but let's make fun of Christians and Jews, and not bend over for them.
In America, we used to do that. We used to treat all faiths equally. Now, we've kind of gone that way, where you bend over for Islam. But if you look at Muslim societies, there are no churches in most Muslim countries. And some of the most famous mosques used to be churches. Like in Syria, the Al-Mayad Mosque used to be a church.
So to me, that's more important than who has the largest vat of hummus, you know. Yes, I eat hummus, and yes, the Muslims eat it, and Christians [coughs], and there are different varieties, and I believe the, the most successful seller, the world's largest seller, is Sabra, which is Jewish owned.
But the thing is, these countries, they are intolerant...these other countries. And they have the problem with the other 'h' word, which...the other two 'h' words that enjoy very...a lot of popularity in the Muslim world which is Hamas and Hezbollah. And to me, that's more important. And it's, you know, ju...that... the fact that I like hummus, doesn't really make me have anything in common with the Muslims.
I mean, you know, Osama Bin Laden, when he was still alive, and I, both went to the bathroom. We, we had that in common. And we had...we both had to eat to survive. But that doesn't mean that he had anything in common with me.
And during World War Two, we had soldiers that enjoyed...you know, we had German-American soldiers, but other soldiers too, who enjoyed sauerkraut, and weiner schnitzel. And I don't think they had anything in common with the Nazis, just because they had a common palette for certain foods. It just doesn't mean you have anything in common, other than that certain food. That's it.
And so, you know, people wrote to me, 'Well we invented it. You're wrong. The Jews are trying to usurp our inventions. And all I have to do, is look at who won the most recent Nobel awards for Science and Math [sic]. A good number of them were Jews and Israelis...no Muslims.
A Muslim woman won the Nobel Peace Prize, which is decided by a different committee, which also gave a Peace Prize to terrorist in chief Yasser Arafat. But the people who really achieve things and invent things, really are Jews and Christians. They're not...and, and Hindus too...they're not, for the most part, Muslims.
If you look at who wins those awards, very few Muslims. And I think...you know, one of the things I wrote about was, S...recently, Steve Jobs, who...his father was a Syrian Muslim who came here as a grad student. And Steve Jobs was given up for adoption. He had nothing in common with his father, other than, you know, DNA...a portion of his DNA.
And Steve Jobs never made any trial at reaching out to his father. He...the only thing ever, back to him once, was, thank you. He never called him back, never really responded. And I believe Steve Jobs became who he is, because he grew up...raised not as a Muslim, and raised in America.
And I think people who eat hummus, it's really not something that means one thing or another, in my view. It's just...it's a taste for something, for a food.
By the way, here's the death threat that I got. The very first death threat that I got. I don't know if you can get it...
What was it? Tell us about it.
Okay, so I had written a column in the New York Post, and I was on the Howard Stern Show, and...which is...for people who are not familiar with Howard Stern, he's kind of like, what's known as a shock jock, and very risqué, his show...but I didn't participate in the filthy portions of it.
But I went on his show to spread my word, my message, my website, and my New York Post column, which stopped the FBI from giving an award to a Palestinian terrorist that lives here in the Detroit area, who styles himself now as a peacenik, but he was a terrorist for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
So I stopped that award, and I talked about it in the New York Post column, and, and Howard Stern, and on my website. So the next thing I know, I got this email that says, 'Jew girl, you might be next LOL' in the subject line'.
And then it says in big red, black letters, 'Kill all kikes'. And then it has pictures of Daniel Pearl with the gun to his head, and then in mid-beheading. And you can see all the blood coming from his neck.
And I've gotten a few of those. I mean, a few emails like that from Muslims, where they've said, 'If you come outside your apartment, we're gonna torture you, and rape you, and kill you. Hezbollah is great, and Hezbollah is coming for you'.
There is this guy, M-------- F----- A-------, who was convicted in Federal Court and he said...he wrote me that, 'Hezbollah is coming for you'. He wrote me two emails, and he went specifically to the University of Michigan Dearborn Library to write the emails, so that he thought he wouldn't get caught, rather than writing them from his own computer.But some really good FBI agents investigated, and they found that...
I want to get a sense of your website. Maybe you could open up the page that you wrote about the hummus war?
Yeah, and that's one of the things that I wrote about, when I wrote about this, is, Israel is still dominating the war where it counts. It doesn't matter that they made a giant vat which frankly, no matter who made it, whether it's Israel or Lebanon, I wouldn't want to eat it from the giant vat where flies and all kinds of stuff is flying into that.
To me, the, the real war is, who is winning the sales race. And as I noted, Sabra is the number one hummus around the world, including in these Arab countries that supposedly practiced the Arab boycotting in Cicero, which they do practice.
But what happens, from what I understand, is that they...the Lebanese Arab merchants, Muslim merchants, sneak it in, in a lot of these Gulf states, and their market is, on the box, made in some other country, like the Netherlands or something.
They buy that. And, you know, yesterday I actually was on the other side of the Detroit area, in the Muslim area. And I went to a market called the Westborn Market, which is a well-known market. It's been there for years. And all they had was Sabra. And I al...saw a lot of people buying that, who were wearing Muslim headdresses and everything.
I just didn't really know that it's made in Israel. But it, but it says it on there somewhere, or that it's an Israeli or a Jewish company. But that's the real war that they're winning. So it doesn't really matter that they had the biggest vat of, of hummus. And, you know, the other war is the inventions. And you know, again, we have them creamed.
I mean, Israel is this little, tiny country. And these Jewish minds in this little, tiny country, that's less than the size of the State of New Jersey, or around the same size, this little country has so many inventions in terms of software, in terms of technology, in terms of medical advancements, in terms of weaponry and military inv...advancements, you know, in that little, tiny land, there are so many patents that come out of there...so many inventions, so many discoveries.
Like with last week, an Israeli scientist getting the Nobel Prize in Science for his chemistry ex...discovery. He was a chemist, and he discovered Quasicrystals. And they don't discover anything in these Muslim countries.
So the fact that in Lebanon, which is now basically Hezbollistan, because it's, it's run by Hezbollan, Hezbollah supporters, and, and some Christian Arabs who were in the back pocket of Hezbollah, if you look at Lebanon, just because they had this giant vat of hummus...what else did they win in?
What else did they lead in? That their country has basically kicked out most of its Christians, or that the country is now a base f...not just a base for Hezbollah, but Hezbollah runs the place, or that it's an Iranian satellite state? That's really the only thing they can brag about. And I wouldn't brag about that.
Why did you decide to get involved in the hummus war as a blogger?
Well, you know what? I'm always looking for interesting takes on the news and world events. And I believe that the most interesting way to...that everyone can relate to, even the most unsophisticated, simple person, can relate to an issue, or realise the side of an issue, or the other sides of an issue is through pop culture.
And part of pop culture is food. I mean we...here in the United States, and I'm sure in other countries, have cable food networks, just all dedicated to food.
And when I was younger, hummus, and tahini, and falafel, these kinds of dishes, were a delicacy, not for me, because I went to a Jewish day school, and we had falafel lunches, and we always had what we call the hummus, because in Hebrew it's [different pronunciation] hummus. It's not hummus.
And, and it was originally hummus 'til they expropriated it, as, as Islam in the Arabic world expropriates a lot of things from Judaism and Christianity. You know, it wasn't such a delicacy. But it was less usual. Now, you can find hummus all over the place, and...so everybody knows what it is. And a lot of people like it.
It's kind of, like, a healthy food that is touted for its health benefits, and that...i-if you eat just a small amount of it. And that it's olive oil, and lemon, and chickpeas. I mean, what could be wrong with that?
So I think, if I talk about that, and then relate it to a bigger issue like how Israel wins the war where it counts, they sell more hummus than any other country, and they sell it in the Muslim world, which is really, you know, giving it to them, I think people can relate to that.
And I think they can also relate to, that the Jews are the real entrepreneurs in the Middle East [clears throat], and they're the real people who not only are successful at merchandery, but also in discoveries, and just a number of things.
So that's why I was interested in the hummus war. Plus, you know, I like Middle Eastern food, which I like to think of as Israeli food. And the thing is that, a lot of people don't realise that we invented a lot of these things. Like, we invented hummus [different pronunciation], or, or rather, what they call it h...I was going to say Hamas, but hummus.
And, you know, we invented a lot of these dishes. And 'they' like to say that they invented it, and that we Jews are interlopers. But we're not interlopers. We've been there for thousands of years, and we invented these things that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years. So I just think it's an interesting topic that people can relate to. And if you give people opinions straight up, which I often do, then it might be considered boring and dry.
But if you give them examples of things that they're used to, like pop culture, things like Sabra salads, [different pronunciation] hummus, or hummus that they're eating, I think they could relate to it, especially if it's closer to lunch time or dinner time more easily, you know, because most Americans, even though it's been 10 years since 9/11, they don't really still know a lot about the Middle East.
And I think most Americans, when they think of Middle Eastern food, don't think of the Jews, even though we're a big part of that. I mean, you know, there were Jews in all of these Arab countries, and all these Muslim lands, 'til a lot of them were kicked out.
I mean, even when they were there, they were generally always persecuted or treated as second class citizens...dimmies. But they always made the same dishes, and, and I don't think that the Arabs and the Muslims have a monopoly on these di...Middle Eastern dishes. They claim it, so therefore they say, 'We invented it'. But, you know, I don't think they invented it.
Just tell us what you wrote?
Okay, well this is what I wrote about the hummus war, or as I call it, the [different pronunciation] hummus war.
'The Arab and Muslim worlds are gloating that a giant group of Lebanese chefs recently beat Israel's Guinness World Record for the largest serving of hummus. Big deal. Yes, these mostly Hezbollah supporting Lebanese chefs mean the world's biggest serving for now'.
'But where it really counts, who is selling more? Israel wipes the floor with all Arab and Muslim nations. And that's worth a lot more than bragging rights. On the inter-international market, Israel's Sabra is the world's largest seller of hummus. As I've noted, it dominates the market, and even more embarrassing to these Muslims, their own countries prefer Sabra salads...hummus to their own'.
'Despite the Arab boycott of Israel, Sabra sells more hummus in the Is-Is...in the Islamic world than any other brand does. Oh, and don't forget that the previous record for the world's largest serving of hummus was set by Israel, by Israeli Arabs of Abu Ghosh, who proudly speak Hebrew for the mainstream media cameras of Agence France-Presse'...the French press agency. And then I wrote, 'Watch the video', and I posted the video.
'The thing is, unlike the Lebanese, the Israelis produce many more products the world values, other than IEDs, Hezbollah, and Fatah terrorists, and a giant vat of hummus. And that's what galls them! They hate that Israel really couldn't care less about hummus, the least of its prize'.
'Israel produces so many important innovations in computers, cell phones, medicine, science, and other areas. It doesn't need a giant vat of ground chickpeas and tahini, to be taken seriously'.
'One other thing. Some clueless Lebanese businessmen are seeking to patent hummus as Lebanese. But [different pronunciation] hummus, as it is called in Hebrew, originated in Israel, and was invented by the Jews, not the Arabs, as is conventionally assumed. It's bad enough, they want to steal Israeli land. Now they want to steal its food'.
And what was the response?
Well, I get 27 responses. This is from, I wrote this...when did I write this? Oh, in 2010. So it wasn't that...it was about a year and a half ago. You know, a lot of people agreed with me. And then...and somebody said, he lost over 40 pounds this year, eating Sabra hummus. He must not be eating a lot of it, 'cause, you know, you can really pack on, on the pounds, if you eat too much of it. And then...let's see, somebody...I'm, I'm looking for people who don't, who don't agree with me.
'More hummus, less Hamas'. I liked that comment.
Oh, somebody called me crazed, and, 'You're all wrong. I make the best hummus, and I'm a Polack', so she's of Polish descent, which by the way, my family is of Polish-Jewish descent. But I've a lot of relatives in Israel.
Let's see, what else did we have? You know, I get emails from people that attacked me. I don't really see so much...you know, one here, somebody wrote, 'For some reason, I'm thinking about the movie 'Zohan', which was an Adam Sandler movie, 'You Don't Mess With The Zohan', about a guy who gets fed up with serving in the Hamas...in the Mossad.
And he moves to New York City to become a hairdresser. And it sounds like a very comical thing, but the movie actually was kind of dumb. But he said, 'I'm thinking about the movie 'Zohan', where the Jews used hummus for everything'.
You know, I really didn't get...'Oh, your post is sickening and disgusting. We Arabs know that hummus is ours. First you steal our lands and now you steal our...'...see, I told...I told you! I, I know their arguments. And she said exactly what I said they'd say. 'First you steal our lands. Now you try to steal our food and culture'. So she kind of stole my line.
'Don't think you're fooling anybody. The word hummus literally translates into chickpeas in Arabic'. Well so what? A lot of Arabic words and Hebrew words are the same. But who was there first?...'we' were!
'We've been making it for generations, and no Zionist Israeli is ever gonna take that away from us'. And then another Arab wrote ba...a, a Phoenician, which means he's a Maronite Christian, 'cause that's how you, they usually identify themselves.
The reason I was interested in interviewing you is that I see you as a bit of a hummus warrior. Is that right?
You know, I'm a, I'm a warrior for the truth. And when the truth involves setting the record straight on whether it's hummus, or just the Middle East in general, or the West versus the Islamic threat, I 'do' consider myself a warrior.
Maybe I'm not on the battlefields, and risking my life, although I v... have risked my life. I believe going to a lot of Islamic events here in Detroit, and writing what I write. And I get the death threats to prove it.
But I, I think that in so far as hummus is, I think, a microcosm of the larger debate in the larger conflict, which the Jews and Israel always find themselves at the centre, especially at the hands of Muslims in...those in Lebanon, then I 'am' a warrior......because I, I think that in that story, lies a lot of characteristics and a lot of issues that I think, if you understand those, then you understand what's going on in the Middle East, and why I think that Israel is so courageous and a warrior for Western culture, and democracy, and civilisation in the Middle East.
So, you know, again it's kind...it's a pop culture issue really, because food is something that, you know, is not a, an academic topic. It's, it's more of a, kind of a, a pop culture topic. But I think it's something that everybody can understand.
You don't need to be a PhD, or know Arabic, or know the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas, or know about Israel, to understand the issue, and how...you know, historically, this was a Jewish food. And suddenly it's been usurped by the Muslims.
And also, they think that making a giant pot of hummus in a country that's now dominated by Hezbollah, which is funded and run by the Government of Iran, they think that that's going to change things. It doesn't change anything. It doesn't change who they are, and the kinds of things that they do.
What historical evidence do you have, that hummus is a Jewish food?
Well, you know, it wasn't me that said it. I actually reported what somebody...what was reported somewhere else, and let me look...I think I wrote about this originally in a different post...
Well, you know, as I said, there were Jews in every Muslim and Arab country. And they were there before the religion of Islam even took hold. And they ate a lot of these foods, and they created a lot of these foods. And I, I read somewhere that the Jews originated it, and I'm trying to find where the documentation is, sorry.
But to read it, is one thing. You speak about it so strongly and passionately, that it must be a belief that you...
Yeah, it 'is' a belief. I did research on it, a long time ago. And, and I...there were articles that said that it, that it had been invented by Jews. You know, there was not a State of Israel then. There was the Land of Israel, which in Hebrew, would be Eretz Yisrael, and that was not the modern State of Israel.
But Jews invented that back then. And I read it somewhere, and I, I remember researching it, you know. And unfortunately, I cannot find...the link doesn't go, that I have, to where I originally read this. But I can tell you that, you know, a lot of these foods were 'our' foods. And, you know, we were the ones that created these...a lot of the inventions now, and a lot of the inventions then.
There is no evidence that 'they' created it. I've heard that in the Book of Ruth, that there's a word that sounds like, like hummus. I think it's like, hamitz or something, which...that actually is a Hebrew word for leavened foods that we won't eat on Passover.
And on Passover, we can't have stuff made out of chickpeas. And the reason why, is beca...-- including hummus...the reason why, is because they used to make flour out of a lot of these beans, including chickpeas. And I think that's where the word comes from.
And I think 'that's' evidence. I mean, the Book of Ruth is from before the establishment of Islam. And at that...before the establishment of Islam, a lot of these Arabs in these, these countries, were really nomadic peoples. They didn't really invent anything.
But it's as much our food as, as it is anybody else's. I think Sabre is the com...i...does say that it originated in what is now Israel. And I think that they actually traced the origin of it. But, you know, there's no evidence that we 'didn't' create it. And there's no evidence that the Muslims created it.
But again, to me, the biggest thing is, who is successful, not only in the market for that food, but in the creation of devices that are useful, or in some way, make American and Western life better, in every single way. And when I say Western, I mean Australia, I mean Israel, I mean Western industrialised democracies.
And Israel creates those inventions, whether it's tastier hummus that is more successful, and sells all over the market, whether it's chips in cell phones and computers. All of these things...you know, I always put up this video on my site. Before you decide to vote...to boycott Israel...somebody made this clever video, and it shows all of the things that the Israelis and the Jews invented.
And, you know, if Muslims are really going to boycott our stuff, and say that they invented certain things, then they need to boycott all the things that are on that video, which is pretty much everything. But I do believe we invented it. And Middle Eastern foods are as much ours as they are theirs.
We were part of the Middle East for me...for thousands of years our religion was around, before Islam, for thousands of years. I mean Islam is a relatively young and violent religion.
I've been to Lebanon recently, and we interviewed Fadi Abboud, the Minister for Tourism, a Christian...
But he's a Christian that I believe was appointed by the Hezbollah forces. Well, rightly or wrongly, I'm not sure about that. But what he does say quite clearly, quite loudly, is, 'The Israelis stole our land, they've stolen our culture, and now they're stealing our hummus and our food'.
Okay, first of all, there have been Jews in Israel for thousands of years. I would like to know how long his Phoenician or his Muslim people that put him into this job, had been there. Not very long. In fact, Christian Arabs in Lebanon don't identify themselves as Arabs. They identify themselves as Phoenicians.
And they were driven out and taken over by these Muslims who now control [stutters], control Lebanon, and our Shi'ite Muslims from Hezbollah. And if he's the Minister of Tourism right now, with Hezbollah controlling the Government, and having veto power over the appointment of any minister in the Government, that means that he was appointed at the behest of Hezbollah.
Now I don't know what land he claims that Israel took from Lebanon. There is none. But I wonder, where was he when the PLO invaded Lebanon, and raped the Lebanese daughters, and killed the Lebanese sons, and took Lebanese people's houses? And Israel was welcomed in as liberators. Even Shi'ite Muslims, who now are supporters of Hezbollah, and part of Hezbollah, they welcomed Israel in.
As far as the food analogy, again, yes, it, it helps people understand what's going on in the Middle East. But 'we' didn't steal anything! That has been a Middle Eastern food for thousands of years, and Jews were in the Middle East, before there were even Muslims.
And like I said, Arabs were largely nomads. They had no anchor to any particular land. In fact, all of the Muslim nations today are really artificial nations, and that's why you have royal families that...and, and dictators, that don't represent their people. You've got in Syria...which the Lebanese Government, of which he's a part, supports...you have in Syria, the Alawites, or the Alawis...
What do you say to the Palestinians then, who also say that 'this is 'our' food...'we' actually invented this?
I would say they invented the concept of the Palestinians, because in fact, before 1964 or so, when they invented the so-called Palestinian people, there was no such thing. If you look at the rosters of chess championships and, and soldiers, all of the so-called Palestinians had names like Shlomo and Yitzhak. These were Jewish names. The original Palestinians are Jews.
These so-called Palestinians, they're Jordanians. They are Arab Muslims from other countries. Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Syria. They're not Palestinians. There's really no distinct Palestinian culture. In fact, there's no particular Palestinian food. All...many Muslims eat hummus.
You just told me that the Lebanese said that it's 'their' food...that this Lebanese Tourism Minister...well, how is it 'his' food? He's just from Lebanon. They eat that food all over the world. And before it became fashionable and common here in the West, they ate it all over the Middle East.
The Palestinians have no distinct culture, because, you know, IEDs are invented, and, and blown up all over the Muslim world. They have no distinct art, because, you know, ripping apart an Israeli soldier, and putting your bloody palm print in the window, as the Palestinians did, is...m-might, might be called modern art...is not something that wouldn't happen in, in 22 other Muslim nations.
They have nothing distinct about them. There is absolutely nothing distinct that makes them Palestinians. And in fact, they 'are' the majority in Jordan, which is ruled by the Hashemites, by Hashemite King Abdullah, and before him, King Hussein, who are less than 10 percent of the country.
Jordan...if you want to call these so-called Palestinians, 90 something percent of Jordan are Pal...are these so-called Palestinians. So that's their land. And by the way, I bet King Abdullah, the Hashemite, he probably eats hummus, and he probably has, since he was a kid, even though he did mostly live in Britain, going to private schools, and he and his wife mostly live on Fifth Avenue in New York.But they...I, I'm sure they eat hummus at, at some Middle Eastern shop on the Upper West Side.
Why is this issue so important to you?
Well again, a lot of people don't really understand what is going on in the Middle East. And I always believe that if you use simple pop culture topics to explain it to them, they'll get it.
But why this? There must be something in you, personally, that it strikes a chord about?
Well, because it just really bugs me that everybody always thinks that...Middle Eastern food, oh that's the Arabs, that's the Muslims, they invented that, that's theirs. It 'isn't' theirs. There's no documentation this was their thing. We, we Jews have been there for thousands of years.
So it just r...and, and we ea...you know, cook the same foods. We invented a lot of these foods. It bugs me that they want to usurp this kind of stuff, just the same way they want to usurp the w...little land Israel has left.
And also, I find it interesting, here in the Detroit area, that we've had Middle Eastern restaurants where the owners were involved in funding Hezbollah, in other Islamic terrorism.
We had a restaurant in the Detroit area called T----- S------. And the owner of T---- S----...he...after 9/11, or...on the day that 9/11, the planes hit the buildings, his waiters were rumoured to have cheered the planes when they kept replaying it on television.
And a doctor who is...who...he and his nurses were picking up orders...said that they saw the waiters doing that. And the owner of the restaurant sued him. Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant was on trial because he was running an international auto theft ring.
And the immigration and customs enforcement agents who were investigating him, said that the money was all going to a bank account in Lebanon, where they believe it was funding Hezbollah.
Then there was a rival chain of restaurants called L------- S------. And L------ S------ is owned by this guy...'was' owned by a guy named T------...who's a Shi'ite Muslim, who is a big supporter of Hezbollah. And he was indicted. He fled to Lebanon, and he was allowed to leave the country.
But the thing he was indicted for, was, sending 19 million or 21 million dollars, something like that, to Hezbollah, and not paying taxes on it. He had two separate sets of books for his restaurants.
And it just bothers me that people think this is 'their' food, so they go to their restaurants, and then they're finding, it's in Islamic terrorism. It's an important thing to me. I think that all of these things are connected. You know, if you go to a restaurant, and you eat food, you should find out who owns the restaurant; where is their money going.
And it's not just, oh I want to have some nice hummus; I'll go to this Muslim's restaurant. So, it's something important to me, in terms of that. I think everything has cause...has consequences. There...you throw a rock into, -to a puddle, it has ripples. And I think when you eat hummus, what you eat, and who made it, i...there are ripples to it.
And so I...you know, the...we're in a propaganda war here, about the Middle East. Every night on the news, you have the mainstream media that is very anti-Israel. Some of the people are Jews who are left-wing, who bend over backwards to show that they're not pro-Israel, or they just really hate Israel.
Then you have people that are Pan-Arabists in the news, who, you know, constantly are attacking Israel on the news. It's a propaganda war. And part of the propaganda war is food! Like I said, it's, it's a small thing in the giant scheme of things.
But it is a microcosm of the larger picture, and it's part o...it's a, it's a touchstone in the propaganda war that is being waged every day by Islamic terrorists around the world, and by the greater Islamic community that I believe is a threat to the West.
Is there something in your family as well that makes this an important issue to you? Did you grow up eating hummus?
Yes. In my house, we had that. My dad liked Middle Eastern food, and my dad read Israeli newspapers, and we spoke Hebrew often in our house. And mostly I had to learn it because I needed to understand what my parents were saying about me. And my father used to always say, 'Don't call it Middle Eastern food. Don't call it Arabic food. It's 'our' food too. That's Jewish food'.
If you go to any Sephardic Jew's house...and Sephardic Jews, it literally means Spanish Jew, but the Sephardic Jews are Jews that came from Spain, and from most of the Muslim countries, and from Asia...and if you go to any Sephardic Jew's home, you know, in the last 100 years, or beyond that, or earlier, if you go even earlier, you would find hummus in their house!
They ate these foods. This was 'our' food. This wasn't just the Arab's food, the Muslim's food. So yeah, it's important to me, 'cause my dad used to always say that. And, and my dad really educated me a lot about the Middle East, and, and really taught me how to think about the Middle East, and gave me lots of reading materials, even including reading materials from people we didn't agree with, so we could see what the other side is saying.
And I...again, the food really is a touchstone in the giant war against Israel, and the war against the Jews that we've always had, throughout Jewish history, where the Jews are the scapegoat for this, or they're attacked for that, or, or they stole their...they stole our money.
Now these Muslims are saying, 'Oh, they stole our food'. Well they stole 'my' food! This is...'my' people ate that stuff. And you know what, I believe in the free market. And Sabra has succeeded in the free market. We've beaten them. And they cannot stand it. That's another reason why they keep saying, 'Oh, they stole our food', because they cannot compete.
They...even their brands do not beat a Jewish brand on the open market, even the restricted market, in their countries, where they tried to boycott Israel. They lose.
Is hummus something that's really popular amongst American Jews?
Yes. It 'is' very popular amongst American Jews because even before it became a popular food item for the rest of the American public, we were already eating this. When I was in school, I went to a Jewish day school, foremost of my elementary school in junior high education.
And we would have Israeli food days. You know, we would celebrate Israel's birthday, and we would have falafel with hummus, or we would have hummus with vegetables, or crackers, or pita...the crackers, stuff like that. And this was before the, you know, the general American public.
And all the health magazines were saying, 'Oh, this is healthy, and you should eat this', before it was widely available. We even made our own. And there was Israeli kid's parents who would make it for us. And there were restaurants. There were Kosher restaurants in the Detroit area, where we would eat that.
So, I always had it when I was younger. It was considered a special treat though.