Dec 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden condemns "antisemitic" rally at Philadelphia falafel shop

Still from video by Jordan Van Glish via X. Used by permission
Protesters in Philadelphia outside of Goldie, a falafel restaurant. Still from video by Jordan Van Glish via X. Used by permission

The White House condemned a pro-Palestinian demonstration that targeted a Jewish-owned kosher falafel shop in Philadelphia with chants of "genocide."

Why it matters: It's a high-profile new example of ways the Israel-Hamas war is roiling American campuses, businesses and politics — the rare international conflict that Americans feel viscerally and personally.

The image above is from video taken by a neighbor of Goldie — the vegan, Israeli-style falafel shop — at 5:20 p.m. yesterday.

  • Protesters with drums and a loudspeaker — some waving Palestinian flags — can be heard chanting: "Goldie, Goldie you can't hide! We charge you with genocide!"

The big picture: The demonstration was part of a march by hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters through Philly's Center City and University City, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) reposted the video and said: "Tonight in Philly, we saw a blatant act of antisemitism — not a peaceful protest. 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."

  • "I've communicated tonight with [co-owner] @Mike_Solomonov and his team at Goldie to share our support and Lori and I look forward to breaking bread there with them again soon."
Customers line up for lunch at Goldie today.
Customers line up for lunch at Goldie today. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

Between the lines: Solomonov is one of the biggest restaurateurs in Philadelphia and one of the most famous chefs in the country.

  • His flagship restaurant, Zahav, has won a James Beard award for outstanding restaurant — one of the industry's most coveted prizes.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates today called it "antisemitic and completely unjustifiable to target restaurants that serve Israeli food over disagreements with Israeli policy."

  • "President Biden has fought against the evil of antisemitism his entire life, including by launching the first national strategy to counter this hate in American history," the statement adds. "He will always stand up firmly against these kinds of undignified actions."

What we're hearing: The 2020 Biden-Harris headquarters was just a few blocks from Goldie, which was a lunch mainstay for campaign staffers.

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