Tuesday 23 February 2021 - 09:02

Canada Taking Down Restaurant Over Support for Palestine

Story Code : 917904
Canada Taking Down Restaurant Over Support for Palestine
The owner of Foodbenders restaurant in Toronto explained to Press TV how the Canadian government is accusing her establishment of ‘anti-Semitism’ over anti-‘Israeli’ posts and is threatening to take her to court and revoke her license.

“In countries in the West right now, there is a political movement to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and I have been sort of caught up in that as an outspoken anti-Zionist,” Kimberley Hawkins said on Monday.

“Many people interpret Zionism as Judaism where I live and for this reason I have been slandered quite aggressively as an ‘anti-Semite’ and it has caused many problems for me personally and for the company,” she added.

Hawkins further explained that the blowback against her little food company started in 2019 over a signage that was on the window about massacre in the besieged Gaza Strip.

She said the situation intensified when “the Jewish ‘Defense’ League and affiliated individuals showed up at her store to commit some pretty nasty vandalism.”

Hawkins went on to say that there are four legal cases against her, all of which rely on a social media hashtag about Zionism which the ‘Israeli’ lobby in Canada is working to prove amounts to ‘anti-Semitism’ under the law.

“The hashtag in particular that seems to be the most talked about … is the hashtag #Zionistsnotwelcome which was intended to be in reference to annexation that was taking place in Palestine. That is not how the lobby interpreted it or at least that’s not how they want to interpret it so they are moving forward to try and prove that this hashtag is a store policy and I discriminate Zionists from my store,” she said.  

Hawkins described the move as “a political bid” to use the definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ to prevent people from speaking critically about Zionists or Zionism.

The remarks come as Elizabeth Glibbery, director of bylaw enforcement and investigation services with the city municipal licensing division, has said Hawkins is slated to go to court in two weeks for allegedly failing to comply with Chapter 545 of the Municipal Code.

Section 8.4A of that chapter says that “No person licensed … under this chapter shall discriminate against any member of the public in the carrying on of the business on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, gender... age, marital status, family status or disability.”

Glibbery further said the city received “multiple complaints” about Foodbenders last year and in response, an advisory notice was sent to Hawkins last August which detailed the consequences of failing to comply with the bylaw.

“The city investigated additional complaints received against this business and the proceedings are currently before the Ontario Court of Justice for contraventions of Chapter 545,” she said.

Hawkins, however, said the complaints are mere “lies,” stressing she has never discriminated anyone from her store.

She also denounced the move as “political persecution” and “corrupt,” given the fact she has been charged with crimes that she has not committed and because of her political stance against Zionism.