March 24, 2014

Another voice from Taybeh

My post of December 8, 2013, titled "My problem with Taybeh beer" has had the highest number of readers on my blog.  I can only guess that people are interested in the intersection of beer brewing and politics -- politics within the heavily-Moslem West Bank, and Taybeh beer's use of confrontation and anti-Israel rhetoric in its marketing.

Today, over three months after I posted the article, I can see that people are still reading "My problem with Taybeh beer" as the page views continue to climb.  I want to share with you a new comment from a reader in Taybeh (such is the power of the internet!) which sheds additional light on the Taybeh beer phenomenon, a side that is never included in press reports about Taybeh beer or its Oktoberfest. 

"I am a Palestinian Christian living in Taybeh and I agree with your post.  What you must know however is that the so-called Taybeh Oktoberfest is not an event in which the people of Taybeh participate, whether as attendees, hosts, etc.  This is largely a one man...I mean  The people of Taybeh are intentionally left out of the picture altogether.  The event does absolutely nothing in terms of "boosting the local economy" or "promoting Taybeh businesses" as the Khourys often recite to those who would listen.  We do however incur the costs of clean-up after the event each year which puts a heavy burden on a weak municipality which is already strapped for cash and is barely alive.

"David Khoury was the former mayor of Taybeh...for eight years no less...on account of the Palestinian Authority government freezing all elections until they could hammer out a national plan that unites all the parties.  We still don't have a unified government and the legislative council is still missing in action.  Most current policies are deployed through Abbas' "presidential decrees" or by one of his un-elected cronies.  Khoury leveraged his role as the mayor of Taybeh to boost his family's business, led by his brother Nadim, at the expense of Taybeh's common folk.

"As for why the Taybeh Oktoberfest wasn't held in Taybeh last year? Well, it was because the municipality had the nerve to ask the organizers of the festival to cover rental and clean-up costs for the event on municipal land since they were tired of footing the bill every year and being forced to cut costs of more important civil services.  Additionally, security was lax prior to moving the event to a Ramallah hotel.  The organizers did very little to protect the properties of local villagers or to remove drunken violent attendees who damaged property, cars, or started fights.  Of course these are things that are not mentioned in the media because no one has ever come to Taybeh to ask the people living here what they think of the event.

"Finally, most of the villagers do not hold the beer company in high regard.  The Khourys are thoroughly corrupt and are exploiting the village and its people for their own wealth.  As far as drinking Taybeh beer, many of us don't even buy or drink it.  The more popular brands here are your usual mainstream beers with Heineken taking the top spot.

"By the way, Maria Khoury is the wife of former mayor David Khoury and she is also the primary PR/Marketing brain behind the event and the company.  She is also a well-documented extremist in terms of her religious beliefs.  Many of us in Taybeh are sick of her hateful falsehoods.  Sadly, all you have to do is Google her and you'll see that she digs her claws into every available channel to recite her tired nonsense.  It's sickening and frankly it gives us, the people of Taybeh, a very bad name.  Taybeh is a biblical village.  It has been around for centuries. It is the home of ancient ruins that date back thousands of years but does anyone know that?  No.  We've been reduced to "that town that makes the beer."

"On a final note, let me say that I know that our two sides are locked in this perpetual conflict but I truly do hope that one day we can put aside our differences and live like neighbors.  I wish you all peace."

~ Rami from Taybeh
I would like to thank Rami for these interesting and, ultimately, quite brave comments.  There is always more going on beneath the surface than we are aware of and it's up to the people of Taybeh themselves to set their own agenda and decide what kind of a city they want to be. I also look forward to the day when we can live as neighbors and, as I wrote, if it's over a glass of beer, that would be even better.


  1. Indeed a brave soul, with excellent English! I sure hope that Rami is NOT his real name!

  2. Fascinating. Thanks for Sharing the comment. I've shared this on the 'Beers of Israel' facebook page.

  3. Doug, this is very interesting. I guess it took a lot of guts to write this up. By the way, you know me from way back. I have been at the shul on D------t quite a few times. You are welcome to visit
    me at Emet m'Tsiyon at:

  4. Doug, important post to round out your story.

  5. Anonymous3/30/2014

    We don't know if this Rami character is authentic and not a hoax being perpetrated by enemies of the Khoury family. I mean, obviously there's a completely different perspective that readers aren't getting. Perhaps the Taybeh city council members, in their ultra-Islamist conservativism, resent David Khoury's entrepreneurial spirit and in their greed have been demanding that he pay an absurd tax in order to hold the Oktoberfest celebration in the town. And maybe it's not the religious extremism of Mrs. Khoury that's the problem so much as the hostility of Taybeh's Muslims to anything redolent of Westernism or Christianity. After all, everyone knows that if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank this afternoon, by evening Hamas will have taken over the territories and turned them into a medieval, oppressive, shari'a-based theocracy. The Khourys are brewing beer, and few things are a more blatant affront to Islam than public consumption of alcohol. So "Rami" could be right that there's more to the story than what's been reported in the press, but let's not be so naive as to ignore at the same time what the press has reported.

  6. This post has been included in this week's edition of the Haveil Havalim Jewish-Israeli Blog Round-up!

  7. Anonymous4/16/2014

    Where do you get all the hatred from? Rami (if this is your true name) You are in an urgent need for a psychiatric help. Shame
    I’m also from Taybeh and you need to be fair, the mayor Khoury has done a lot for Taybeh and the economy in general and your ill views only represent you and not the kind majority of Taybeh people.


Thanks for your comment. L'chayim!