Israel's Canada embassy angers Twitter with falafel 'national dish' tweet

Israel's Canada embassy angers Twitter with falafel 'national dish' tweet
Israel's embassy in Canada sparked mockery on social media this week by calling falafel the Israeli 'national dish'.
2 min read
14 June, 2023
Chickpea-based falafel is widely thought to have originated in Palestine and other countries of the Levant [Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty]

Israel's embassy in Canada angered social media users this week with a tweet that called falafel the Israeli "national dish".

In the tweet marking International Falafel Day on 12 June, Israel in Canada said: "Today we honour the beloved falafel, a cherished culinary national treasure and the national dish of Israel."

The image included in the tweet featured a plate full of falafel, with a small Israeli flag planted into each of the two dozen or so chickpea-based balls.

"Don’t forget the tahini," the tweet added, in reference to a Middle Eastern sesame seed paste often eaten with falafel.

Twitter users were quick to call the tweet an example of Israel's appropriation of Palestinian and other Middle Eastern cuisines.

"From colonising the lands of others, Israel has moved on to colonising dishes," one quote tweet read.


Some Twitter users used the tweet as a template to jokingly lay claim to famous dishes from other countries.

"Today we honour the beloved cheeseburger, a cherished culinary treasure and the national dish of Lebanon  #NationalCheeseburgerday ... Don't forget the Texas BBQ sauce!," one Twitter user wrote.

Twitter users colluded to get a community note added to the Israel in Canada tweet, which read:"Falafel originated in Egypt." A link to the Wikipedia page for falafel was attached to the note.

Twitter's community notes feature is based on consensus from the platform's users. "If enough contributors from different points of view rate that note as helpful, the note will be publicly shown on a Tweet," Twitter says of the feature.

Falafel's origin is sometimes disputed among Middle Eastern peoples. The kind made of fava beans is widely considered to be Egyptian, while the chickpea-based version is thought to originated in Palestine and other Levantine countries. 

Israel is often accused of committing cultural theft by claiming Palestinian and wider Middle Eastern heritage as its own to promote its image internationally.

International Falafel Day was founded in 2012 by Ben Lang, an entrepreneur partly based in Israel.