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Foodways and Foodwashing: Israeli Cookbooks and The Politics of Culinary Zionism

Baron, I. Z. and Press-Barnathan, G. (2021) 'Foodways and Foodwashing: Israeli Cookbooks and The Politics of Culinary Zionism.', International Political Sociology, 15 (3). pp. 338-358.


The paper explores the political narratives produced in English-language Israeli cookbooks. We examine an understudied yet central component of everyday International Relations, everyday nationalism, and identity contestations as practiced through gastronomy, and highlight the dilemma between the different political uses of popular culture in the context of conflict resolution and resistance. Our argument identifies different narratives represented in what we term Culinary Zionism. One narrative is explicitly political, discusses Israeli cuisine as a foodway, and contributes to creating a space of and a path for co-existence and recognition of the Other. A second narrative is found in tourist-orientated cookbooks that offer a supposedly a-political story of culinary tours in Israel. We problematize the political and normative implications of these narratives by exploring the potential role of these books to open space for dialogue and increase familiarity and interest of foreign audiences of Israel and the conflict. We contrast this possibility with their potential to what we term foodwashing, namely the process of using food to symbolically wash over violence and injustices (the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this case).

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© The Author(s) (2021). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:18 January 2021
Date deposited:25 January 2021
Date of first online publication:22 March 2021
Date first made open access:11 March 2022

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