Over the weekend, Palestinian-American journalist and author Ali Abunimah spotted a product that appropriates the popular Levantine herb mixture zaatar, marketing it as a "Middle Eastern herb" called "Zahtar." In a series of tweets, Abunimah pointed out the fact that labeling the product as such erases the food's "Levantine and specifically Palestinian peasant origins."
The company behind the latest appropriation product goes as far as claiming there's something called Israeli zaatar. This is beyond problematic, especially given the fact that many have long been trying to pass zaatar as an "Israeli spice" though it existed decades before the apartheid state was even founded.
But the truth is, there's no Israeli version of zaatar, which is and has always been a Levantine/Palestinian creation.
Arabs and Palestinians are tired of the endless attempts at appropriating their culture and food - which often result in the spreading of ignorance regarding the origins of several traditional Levantine and Arab meals that are part of the region's history.
That's particularly why no one is letting such an appropriation slide. Instead, online users are hitting back at it time and again.