The owner of a Toronto eatery that prides itself on being “anti-racist” says “Zionists not welcome.”
By TheJ.ca and United with Israel
After a short break in operations after blowback for anti-police statements, a small Toronto sandwich shop reopened this week and quickly began to expand its attack from a focus on abolishing police to including Israel and Zionists.
A supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, Foodbenders in mid-June exhibited anti-police signage outside its Bloordale location, as well as making vile comments about police, their wives, and their children online. The operation was not prepared for the attention those comments received from Torontonians online and in front of their facility.
The foul language and anti-police sentiment became the focus of peoples’ responses, such as “hope you get the same respect when your shop is robbed, vandalized, or you are held at gunpoint.”
The owner, Kimberly Hawkins, published a response on Instagram that concluded: “When we say f**k the police, we are saying f**k you to the institution of policing that is racist by this definition. It is not a message of hate or violence toward individual police officers, it’s a statement of solidarity with the people of colour, the sex workers, the drug users, people with disabilities, the homeless people, and everyone else who is fed up with the f..ked up system!
“Black and Indigenous lives matter to us, so we say F**K THE POLICE, even if it means we lose customers and friends.”
Around the same time, the restaurant replied to a tweet and stated: “You don’t get to pretend you are not a racist and that you are anti-police, while at the same time pumping dollars into Israel’s zionist White supremacy ethnostate project that trained the US police on the techniques of brutality to kill George Floyd and others in the first place!”
This week the attacks on Israel ramped up, with Hawkins telling a reporter, “Why don’t you talk about the thousands of children killed by Israel every day”, and an online posting proclaiming #zionistsnotwelcome.
“I’m not anti-Semitic,” says Hawkins, who supports the BDS movement, reports BlogTO. “That would go against all the other principles that I’ve been standing up for the past few weeks. I believe that Palestinians should be free and have the same equal human rights as everyone and that’s not a stance I will apologize for…
“When I’m making a statement about Zionism, I am not referring to Jewish people… It’s about the state government.”
According to BlogTO, Hawkins describes herself as a “white Canadian settler on Turtle Island” and says she’s been a pro-Palestine supporter since the age of 16.
In response, major organizations, including Hasbara Fellowships and the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued statements condemning the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Foodbenders. B’nai Brith Canada stated: “A Toronto restaurant, Foodbenders, engages in hostile anti-Semitic rhetoric, including conspiracy theories about Jewish control over the media and politicians plus flagrant discrimination against people for their beliefs. This is in firm opposition to all that we stand for in our free and democratic country. There’s no place for this shameful behavior in our society.”
The estalishment is reportedly being investigated. Grassroots Zionist activists are planning an informational picket in front of the establishment on Sunday evening.
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