Yale Campus(l); Israeli Couscous(r)

Nick Allen/Wikipedia Amy Ross/Flickr (CC-BY)

Name of Yale dining hall’s couscous dish divides students

The salad was initially called 'Israeli couscous.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 12, 2023   Updated on Dec 12, 2023, 4:29 pm CST

After a Yale University student tweeted that the university’s dining hall had removed the word “Israeli” from its couscous salad, one of her peers responded that the dish is still called “Israeli couscous.”

Sahar Tartak, a Yale University student and the editor-in-chief of an independent publication on campus, tweeted on Monday that the university’s dining hall had dropped “Israeli” from the name of its “Israeli couscous salad with spinach and tomatoes.”

By Tuesday, her tweet had been viewed over a million times and retweeted almost a thousand times.

In response to her tweet, she tagged the X accounts of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Elon Musk, Amy Schumer, Jordan Peterson, Fox News, the New York Times, and the Israeli Defense Forces, among others.

However, another Yale student, Viktor Kagan, debunked Tartak’s claim with a photo of the dish’s information card in a university dining hall. The card shows the dish is named “Israeli Couscous Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes.” Kagan is the chief of staff of Yale’s College Council.

“Good afternoon, from a Yale Dining Hall,” Kagan tweeted. “Photo taken minutes ago.” The Daily Dot reached out to Tartak and Kagan.

As a post-script to his tweet, Kagan said on X that he shared the photo “to ensure that we dont use provocative stories to stir the pot on hatred.”

“I am a Jewish student who hears [about] small cases of Antisemitism & other hate that don’t receive any attention cuz of false outrage on issues like ‘canceling’ food,” Kagan tweeted. “Facts matter.”

Tartak tweeted that the university changed the name of the dish back to Israeli couscous “after being called out and contacted by Jewish students.” Yale did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

College campuses, including Yale, have been breeding grounds for demonstrations, disagreements, and tension surrounding the Israeli-Hamas war.

Over the weekend, a pro-Palestinian protestor draped a Palestinian flag over a menorah on Yale’s campus, which the university’s administration condemned. A “doxxing truck” that shows the names of pro-Palestinian students has been seen at Harvard, Columbia, and Yale universities.

Update 3:28pm CT, Dec. 12: Tartak tweeted photos of Yale University dining hall information cards for the dish: One that includes the word Israeli and one that omits it.

She says that university dining administrators emailed her that “considering [Israeli couscous] is the main ingredient, it is appropriate to remain in the title,” and they’d correct the “oversight.”

Her before and after photos have also been posted by Libs of TikTok.

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*First Published: Dec 12, 2023, 4:17 pm CST