Yale U dining hall removes 'Israeli' from name of couscous, reinstates it

Students do not feel some foods authentically represent the countries found in their names, university says; Food has been weaponized in Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza
Marcy Oster|
The Yale University dinning hall changed the name of a salad dish to remove the word Israeli, and then reinstated it after pushback.
Yale student Sahar Tartak, who identifies herself on social media as a "proud Jew," posted on the X platform on Tuesday: "At Yale, the years-old, popular "Israeli couscous salad with spinach and tomatoes," has been renamed in our dining halls as the same exact dish but without the word 'Israeli.'"
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In another post on the subject she added that "It's the subtle changes and redactions that are the most pernicious."
When Yale student Viktor Kagan posted a photo on X of the salad's information card in a university dining room with Israeli still part of the couscous' name, Tartak posted photos of two dining hall information cards for the same dish - one with the word Israeli in it and one without.
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A bowl of raw organic Israeli couscous
A bowl of raw organic Israeli couscous
A bowl of raw organic Israeli couscous
(Photo: JTA)
A university spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek magazine that the word Israeli had been removed, but that it would be reinstated.
"Authenticity of the food and naming of the recipes have been a concern brought to us by students in the past," the spokesperson said. "There were times that they felt our food did not 'authentically' represent the country or ethnicity referenced in the name.
"To that end, our team made the decision to remove names of countries and ethnicities from recipes...In this case, Israeli Couscous is indeed an actual ingredient and is explicitly listed on the ingredient list. Considering it is the main ingredient, it is appropriate to remain in the title, and we will correct this oversight."
Tartak received blowback for the post, much of it couched in terms of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.
"Wow, this is terrible. On one hand we have a renamed dish - on another we have thousands of dead Palestinian children," responded one X user. "Are you trying to to compare this to the killing of civilians in Gaza," asked another.
Food has been weaponized in the Gaza war. Last month, over 900 chefs, restaurateurs and leading food industry figures in North America signed a petition calling for a boycott of restaurants and Israeli food in protest of the attacks in Gaza.
The petition, Hospitality for Humanity, called for a boycott of food businesses from Israel and culinary events that promote Israel as leverage for a cease-fire. Beyond the usual claims of "apartheid" and "genocide," the signatories claim that Israel is also appropriating Palestinian cuisine and trying to erase it from the culinary world, just as it supposedly tries to erase the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, a masked individual climbed up a large menorah erected near the Yale campus and hung a Palestinian flag from its branches during a pro-Palestine protest on Dec. 9 organized by American Muslims for Palestine’s Connecticut chapter, Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Connecticut, We Will Return Palestine and Yalies4Palestine. The protesters chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “There is only one solution: Intifada revolution.”
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