The hummus wars continue

The Lebanese sure showed Israel this weekend. For years, the two held the same thing sacred, while only one could hold the title. That title, of course, is who could make the largest batch of hummus.

Israel used to hold the record for making the largest plate of the dip, but no longer after Lebanese chefs served up over two tons of chickpea-y goodness on Saturday. The entire affair is comical in the sense that too often it seems like neither side is actually talking about hummus.

The slogan for the event was, "Come and fight for your bite, you know you're right," illustrating the growing frustration. Several Lebanese businessmen also used the belligerent rhetoric.

"Lebanon is trying to win a battle against Israel," Fady Jreissati, the events promoter said. "Hummus is a Lebanese product and part of our traditions."

This isn't the first time the two counties have clashed over the dish, last year the Association of Lebanese Industrialists sued Israel in an effort to stop them from marketing hummus as Israeli. Saturday, the head of that group said, "If we don't tell Israel that enough is enough, and we don't remind the world that it's not true that hummus is an Israeli traditional dish, they will keep on marketing it as their own."

However the food wars don't end with hummus. Yesterday the Lebanese also made the world's largest batch of tabbouleh, a salad which Lebanon claims the Zionists are trying to take as their own.



Rich Germans ask for higher taxes

They're the kind of citizens any cash-starved government would want: a group of wealthy Germans have launched a petition this week calling for higher taxes on wealthy Germans. The group claims that Germany could raise €100 billion if the richest people paid a five percent wealth tax for two years. 

Germany is not known as a low-tax country--tax revenues were 37% of GDP in 2007, in line with other EU countries, and above countries like South Korea (29%) and the United States (28%). The petitioners claim, though, that those who "made a fortune through inheritance, hard work, hard-working, successful entrepreneurship, or investment" should put their money into an economy that, while better off than some other EU counterparts, is still facing rising unemployment through next year.

But deficit hawks shouldn't start dreaming of a shift in worldwide tax perceptions: the petition has fewer than fifty signatures, and, after their most recent rally, one signatory told the AFP that it was "really strange that so few people came."