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Cygwin bash script removing equal sign

Cygwin bash script is removing equals sign from command call. How do I
escape it so that = is sent to command?

I tried different things like escaping = with \ and enclosing it with ""
and '' but none of them worked.

*Here is the relevant command in my makefile.*

*$(elabcmd) = $(XELAB_DEFAULT) \-generic VERSION=10*


*Here is the result:*

cygwin prompt:> make compile
*Running: xelab.exe -generic VERSION 10*

*(note that the equal sign is not there)*

I want
*xelab.exe -generic VERSION=10*

Thanks for any help.

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