Last week was a big week for MENA news. Between the San Bernadino shooters and Britain's new bombing campaign in Syria, understandably less people were paying attention to what Ben Carson was up to last week.
But someone should have, because the Republican presidential candidate was busy—telling a prominent group of Jewish Republicans about the deadly Middle East threat posed by the age-old 'hummus' vs. 'feta' rivalry.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum in Washington, D.C. along with other conservative candidates Thursday, Carson talked about roadblocks standing in the way of Israeli-Palestinian peace. There were many rifts, he said. There's the physical rift of geography between the West Bank and Gaza, and the rift between ideologies.
The split he's talking about here is Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian political parties whose conflict led to the splitting of the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Today, Hamas is the ruling body of the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority's Fatah remainder is led by Mahmoud Abbas and controls the West Bank.
But pronounciation was not in Carson's favor, meaning the speech ended up sounding a more like something off of Master Chef, a serendipity the Internet went a little crazy over.
Carson was not wrong—the rift between the groups has made for shaky relations among the territories and done its own part in setting back development in Palestine. And the Republicans run has given us plenty of material to work with already (looking at you, Donald, and also still you, Carson).
Still, for someone whose thoughts on foreign policy have been more than a little tone deaf already, it might not have been a bad idea check with an Arabic speaker (or anyone with an Internet connection, for that matter) before the big speech.
Check out some of the best food puns spawned on social media following the mixup, plus a clip of speech—the food wars start around 10:00.
Enjoying my lunch before "President" Ben Carson puts it on the terrorist watch list. #hummus #whenchickpeasattack pic.twitter.com/gwJ25UaPkB— sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) December 5, 2015
per ben carson, the "hummus" terrorist organization is already in our supermarkets, all across america. thanks obama.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 3, 2015
Ben Carson's biggest issue with Hamas is that it's too garlicky.— Mike Barish (@mikebarish) December 3, 2015
What's worse for Carson is that this mixup is already a parody featured in Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary, "Bruno," in which the protagonist confuses 'Hamas' and 'Hummus,' too. The character asks, "Why are you so anti-Hamas? Isn't pita bread the real enemy?" CNN reporter Brenna Williams provided a satisfying mashup of the two. Via Vine.