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Mena Massoud ‘Doesn’t Understand the Politics’ of Claiming Middle Eastern Food as Israeli

May 27, 2019

In December 2018, Aladdin actor, Mena Massoud posted a seemingly harmless video on his Instagram page, “Evolving Vegan”. In this video, Mena details all the foods he grew up eating (and now can’t eat as a vegan), “shawerma, shish tawook, labneh”. He then introduces the restaurant he’ll be eating at- an “Israeli inspired plant-based restaurant serving up all the Mediterranean classics”. Recently, Egyptian and Arab twitter caught on to this video, calling him out for reinforcing the idea that Palestinian and Levantine food is Israeli. Massoud replied to this tweet with a response that many were unpleased with (rightfully so): Hey dude. Grew up in Toronto going to Isreali restaurants that served Middle Eastern food. Don’t really understand the politics of it, I was honestly shocked to see the response. Not getting paid for EV. Actually pouring my own money into it. All love man — Mena Massoud (@MenaMassoud) May 26, 2019 The actor’s response seemed like a cop-out to most; how could he not know the politics behind it? Any Egyptian, even one of the diaspora, knows of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Using “growing up in Toronto” also does not…

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