A viral chant in front of an Israeli-style restaurant in Center City has drawn rebukes from politicians across Pennsylvania, as well as the White House.
Hundreds of activists protested the Israeli bombardment of Gaza on Sunday when they passed Goldie, chanting, “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”
Philly Palestine Coalition, which organized the protest, previously called for a boycott of the establishment for its support of the Israel Defense Forces. Goldie is owned by Israel-born chef and James Beard Award winner Michael Solomonov, along with his business partner Steven Cook. Protesters reportedly stuck “Free Palestine” and “This is genocide” stickers on the storefront’s exterior, but no other damage was reported.
Protestors in Philadelphia stand outside of a Jewish & Israeli owned falafel restaurant— Jordan Van Glish (@thatJVG) December 3, 2023
“Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” pic.twitter.com/yF7hQwev66
State and federal elected officials have come out to denounce the actions of the protesters. Gov. Josh Shapiro took to X, formerly known as Twitter, calling the incident “blatant antisemitism.”
“A restaurant was targeted and mobbed because its owner is Jewish and Israeli. This hate and bigotry is reminiscent of a dark time in history,” he said. He later told reporters he contacted Solomonov to offer his support.
Tonight in Philly, we saw a blatant act of antisemitism — not a peaceful protest.— Governor Josh Shapiro (@GovernorShapiro) December 4, 2023
A restaurant was targeted and mobbed because its owner is Jewish and Israeli. This hate and bigotry is reminiscent of a dark time in history. https://t.co/WS2guahnsQ
“It is Antisemitic and completely unjustifiable to target restaurants that serve Israeli food over disagreements with Israeli policy, as Governor Shapiro has underlined,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “This behavior reveals the kind of cruel and senseless double standard that is a calling card of Antisemitism.”
“They could be protesting Hamas,” U.S. Sen. John Fetterman tweeted. “They could be protesting Hamas’ systematic rape of Israeli women and girls or demanding the remaining hostages be immediately released.”
They could be protesting Hamas. They could be protesting Hamas' systematic rape of Israeli women and girls or demanding the remaining hostages be immediately released.— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) December 4, 2023
Instead, they targeted a Jewish restaurant. It's pathetic and rank antisemitism. https://t.co/zDZQwy84g5
People have the right to peacefully protest, but targeting a restaurant simply because it is Jewish-owned is abhorrent and antisemitic.— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) December 4, 2023
I'm reaching out to local law enforcement to make sure any crimes committed are investigated and prosecuted.https://t.co/saMUAZesDs
Michael Balaban, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, called on the city to take action against what he called criminal behavior.
“Attacking a business because it’s owned by Jewish individuals — owned by Israelis — is nothing less than blatant antisemitism and Jewish hatred,” Balaban told WHYY News. “That’s what we’re seeing right now on the streets of Philadelphia. And the fact that that’s being allowed is, is awful. The city should respond. It shouldn’t be enabling this lawlessness in the streets. I respect free speech, but this isn’t free speech.”
The Philly Palestine Coalition could not be reached for comment. However, the organization has since gone on social media to clarify the meaning of its actions. It says that the restaurants were not targeted because the owners are Jewish or Israeli. Rather, it says the restaurant group supports organizations that give money to IDF soldiers.
Representatives from Goldie’s corporate owner, CookNSolo Restaurants, declined requests for an interview.
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