For his Parts Unknown visit to Israel, adventuresome chef Anthony Bourdain has been honored with the Voices of Courage and Conscience in Media award from the U.S. Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). It was the chef’s first time in Israel, and he visited Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.
The episode includes a visit in the West Bank to a restaurateur couple — he is Palestinian, and she is Jewish — in whose home Bourdain enjoys a vegetarian meal, and a focus on anti-Palestinian graffiti by Jewish settlers in the territory.
Bourdain’s visit drew media attention not only for his coverage of a region mired in controversy, but for sharing with the audience that Bourdain himself is Jewish.
In his own words: “By the end of this hour, I’ll be seen by many as a terrorist sympathizer, a Zionist tool, a self-hating Jew, an apologist for American imperialism, an Orientalist, socialist, a fascist, CIA agent, and worse.”
The Parts Unknown host was honored with the MPAC award earlier in May, and expressed his gratitude at being welcomed and invited to share in the daily lives of Palestinians.
“I was enormously grateful for the response from Palestinians in particular — for doing what seemed to me an ordinary thing, something we do all the time,” said Bourdain. “Show regular people doing everyday things, cooking and enjoying meals, playing with their children, talking about their lives, their hopes and dreams."
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.