Friday, February 19, 2010

Who invented cherry tomatoes: the claim by Ethan Bronner

As Ethan Bronner yesterday felt obligated to carry, word for word, propaganda claims by Israel (see below), he mentioned without evidence the claim that Israel "invented" cherry tomatoes. Yesterday, I carried the response of comrade Rami. Today, comrade Riad, a professor of agriculture who works for the food department in the state of California sent me this response (I cite with his permission): "Rami is right. The Israelis claiming that they have developed the cherry tomato is completely unfounded. As a matter of fact, the 'regular' tomato itself was developed from cherry tomatoes as one parent, and reports of the existence of cherry tomatoes appear before 1948. While the Israelis have produced some popular varieties, most commercial varieties were developed somewhere else. The coveted Santorini variety of cherry tomatoes that Rami refers to is still only grown in Santorini-Greece and is largely unchanged. It is also thought that the Santorini originally came from somewhere in Egypt, so the Egyptians can claim that they are behind one of the most famous cherry tomato varieties. Other very popular varieties like Sweet 100 and derivatives have been developed in the US. North Carolina State University (especially R. Gardner), as well as the USDA have developed many varieties as well as the breeding lines that others (like those Israelis) use to develop new varieties. This claim, as with their other false claim that they have developed drip irrigation (which was 'invented' in the US), as Rami said, is their usual practice of taking something that they have not invented and slapping their name on it. Of course, as any self-deluding Lebanese knows, the act of claiming a non-existent achievement is itself a practice that the Israelis have stolen from the Lebanese."