UPDATE: UberEats has terminated their relationship with ‘Food Benders’ and owner Kimberly Hawkins; more here.
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A Toronto eatery known for displaying radical messages on its premises and social media accounts was condemned on for announcing that “Zionists” were not welcome there.
Local website blogTO remarked that the Foodbenders restaurant in the city’s Bloordale neighborhood was “back playing defense just a few weeks following its controversial ‘F*ck the Police’ sign at the height of Toronto’s anti-Black racism and police abolition rallies.”
A post earlier this week on the restaurant’s Instagram account announced that it was now open to “non-racist shoppers,” adding the hashtags “freepalestine” and “zionistsnotwelcome.”
Toronto News Anchor Jamie Gutfreund slammed the restaurant in a direct response – “I was quite shocked and surprised to see a local Toronto company @foodbenders openly promote their racism and Jew hatred by blatantly and proudly posting that anyone who believes Israel has a right to exist is not welcome – basically it means no Jews are welcome,” wrote Gutfreund. “Just imagine for one second if this were owned by any other person who openly promoted that Blacks, Muslims, Asians, LGBT, etc were not welcome – it would be a major story on every station and paper in the city. Advocacy groups would be parked outside this business raising hell!!”
Foodbenders’ owner Kimberly Hawkins rejected the charge that her stance sent a signal to Jews that they are not welcome at the restaurant. “When I’m making a statement about Zionism, I am not referring to Jewish people,” she said. “It’s about the state government.”