Creating Mideast peace with food?
(New York - WABC, September 8, 2006) (WABC) -- Diplomacy is one approach for creating peace and food may be another. For one New Yorker, the problems in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world may have a chance at getting solved in the kitchen.
The concept is to get people from opposing sides to create a food product. In the process they make money, and in the end they create something that tastes good and that may help bring them together. It's the brainchild of a New York man who's voracious for peace.
Daniel Lubetzky is far from the turmoil in the Middle East, but it's clear from the quotations on his walls in his Manhattan office that he strives for peace in that region.
"I've always been very passionate about trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I've always been very passionate about business," he said.
So 12 years ago he married his passions and started Peaceworks Foods.
Moshe and Ali spreads were his first product, now called meditalia. They're the direct result of Israelis and Palestinians cooperating and creating together. He's since branched into other regions with Bali Spice made by Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.
His newest product, Kind Bars, are among the fastest growing health bars on the market. And while they're made in Australia and not the product of battling factions, 5 percent of sales go to foster peace in the Middle East.
That's where Daniel's grassroots organization comes in. He started OneVoice four years ago to promote the moderate voice among Israelis and Palestinians.
"The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians want nothing more than to end the conflict," Daniel said.
And so far, 210,000 Palestinians and Israelis have signed on -- as have dignitaries and celebrities from Queen Noor to Brad Pitt. And one voice has raised $5 million dollars in part due to the sale of PeaceWorks products.
And Daniel hopes to make OneVoice even louder especially in light the summer's wave of polarizing violence.
"I think it both frustrates me and makes me feel somewhat helpless and after a few minutes of that introspection it makes me 100 times more determined to try new things to work harder at it," Daniel added.
Kind Bars sell for about two bucks each. Lubetzky doesn't believe people will buy them just because they have a social value -- he says sales are strong because they taste good. The social mission is like the icing on the cake.
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