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Indianapolis Chef Links Being Jewish to Drinking Children’s Blood

A post by a high-profile restaurateur unveiling a Jewish-inspired menu is being called hate speech by members of the Jewish community.

Milktooth’s chef and owner Jonathan Brooks associated being Jewish with tasting the blood of children in a social media post on Thursday ahead of the rebranding of his restaurant as Jewish deli-influenced.

“If I’m not “really Jewish” then how would I be so familiar with the taste of children’s blood?” he wrote Thursday on Instagram Stories, under his username “thebeastgodforgot.” 

A centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christian children and use their blood for rituals, such as being used in baking for Passover bread, has led to mob violence and the destruction of entire Jewish communities.

Brooks said the post was a joke in response to comments that he was appropriating Jewish food culture for profit.

“I’m Jewish and my pastry chef is Jewish. That’s the food that we grew up with,” he told IndyStar. “The joke was that we weren’t Jewish enough to cook our own food.”

“Yes, it’s an off-color joke. Jokes can be off-color. That doesn’t make them wrong,” Brooks said. “No one has to follow me on Instagram.”

Brooks on Friday said that no one responded to him in person or online about the post. He has since made the account private.

“It’s obviously meant to be sarcastic and that I should have to prove how Jewish I am to cook my own food,” he said. “I was not trying to be offensive. No one drinks children’s blood. That’s completely a ridiculous thing to say; a cartoonish thing to say.”

Lindsey Mintz, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said “blood libel is one of the most dangerous antisemitic conspiracy theories perpetuated throughout history, and should never be trafficked, even as a joke.”

Mintz added that she found the posting particularly disturbing with incidents of hate crimes against Jewish people on the rise in the U.S., and increasingly fueled by social media.

“The concern is how it’s used. If it will be picked up by extremist voices to say, ‘Look, it’s true,’” she said. “However it’s used, it will be used nefariously by people who do not have good intentions toward Jews or toward other people who are different.

“Words matter in the digital age.”

Fellow restauranteur Martha Hoover, whose Patachou Inc. owns Café Patachou, Napolese Pizzeria, Public Greens Urban Kitchen and Apocalypse Burger, said she was shocked when she read what Brooks said.

“When I read the comment, I had no idea who uttered those words. It didn’t matter to me who uttered them. The words were so offensive that I just stopped in my tracks,” she said. “When I heard who it was, I was extremely disappointed because I know he is considered to be an active member of the Indianapolis food scene and it’s just unacceptable.”

Hoover added that the statement shocked her and that she is “so deeply hurt, as a member of the Jewish community, and as a member of the hospitality community, a community that’s supposed to be welcoming to all.

“This is something that is rooted in deep-seated ignorance.”

Brooks is known for his unguarded statements, once meeting criticism of a mural of copulating rabbits on the outside wall of his Beholder restaurant with, “Everyone can hold & suck…,Go do your own thing… and you’re welcome for the rising property values. Bye.”

“Aside from the fact with my personality — I’m prone to making off-color jokes or off-color comments — we are always respectful with the food that we cook and we are always in this for the love of hospitality and making our city a more fun place to eat in,” Brooks said Thursday.