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Dutch Restaurant Erases Israel From Placemat Map

Dutch restaurant owners cited their gastronomical focus in explaining why they had replaced Israel with Palestine in a map of the Middle East they had printed.

The owners of Le Souq, a restaurant based in Rotterdam that specializes in food from the Middle East, offered the explanation after a local politician criticized their removal of Israel and replacement with Palestine in the restaurant’s signature placemat, which features a map of the Middle East.

“A new country in the Middle East? In Rotterdam’s market hall they are straightforward about Israel’s position. Bizarre,” Jan Hutten, a regional chairman of the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal party, wrote on Twitter earlier this week. He also included a picture of the controversial placemat.

In response, the owners of the Le Souq restaurant that had the placemat printed, wrote in a statement that they “only deal with the tastes of the Middle East.” Among those tastes, owner Nadia Afkir told the Algemeen Dagblad daily Wednesday, “is the ancient Palestinian kitchen, the producer of the delicious maglubi and the kunefe dishes that we are passionate about.”

The placemat, she added, “names countries producing the dishes and products with which we work.”

Rotterdam’s Market Hall, where Le Souq is located, is a large complex of restaurants, apartments and businesses that opened last year during a ceremony led by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

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