Is Knafeh Israeli or Palestinian?

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Palestinian bakers preparing a giant knafeh, weighing 1,765 kilos and measuring 74 meters in length, in the West Bank city of Nablus in July 2009.Credit: AP

A BuzzFeed advertorial on "incredible desserts from around the world" has aroused Palestinian ire due to its characterization of the syrupy cheese pastry knafeh as an Israeli dish.

"This is the latest example of blatant cultural appropriation of indigenous Palestinian and regional culture," wrote Ali Abunimah in The Electronic Intifada. He also mentioned falafel, hummus and maftoul (Palestinian couscous) as foodstuffs that are "promoted as Israeli, while erasing or denying their connection to the country’s indigenous people and culture."

Knafeh, Abunimah added, "is perhaps the most iconic Palestinian dessert for which the occupied West Bank city of Nablus is particularly renowned."

BuzzFeed described knafeh as "cheese pastry soaked in a sweet syrup topped with a few drops of rose water or orange blossom water and crushed pistachios. The outside is crunchy, making knafeh like cheese danish’s cooler cousin."

Though labelled Israeli by BuzzFeed, knafeh is primarily made by the country's Arab citizens and is widely regarded as an Arab dish. But that didn't prevent Abuhimah from lambasting "Zionism’s ongoing campaign to erase [Palestinians] culturally and physically from the geography, history and future of Palestine."

The full list of "incredible desserts" featured by BuzzFeed is: dobos torte (Hungary,) croquembouche (France,) maple taffy (Canada,) alfajores (Argentina,) pavlova (Australia,) mooncake (China,) ube cake (Philippines,) pastel de nata (Portugal,) milk tart (South Africa,) knafeh (Israel,) gulab jamun (India,) semla (Sweden,) sachertorte (Austria,) sticky toffee pudding (England) moshi (Japan,) babka (Poland,) stroopwaffel (Belgium) and gelato (Italy.)

Kanafeh: Identified as Israeli by BuzzFeed.Credit: Screenshot

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