A bigoted food fight in the city of (un)brotherly love...um, hate
Is there anyone who doesn't love that all-American food, pizza? Sure, the recipe was originally developed in Italy — after its citizens were introduced to tomatoes, which are native to the Americas, in the 1500s. And for some, nothing is more delicious than pizza topped with pineapple from Hawaii, which might differ from the original recipe, but diversity — and taste — can't be argued. Similarly, other so-called ethnic foods have been transformed, Americanized, such as Annie Hall's sandwich order of "pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise, tomatoes, and lettuce" in the movie of the same name, or corned beef and cabbage with quesadilla at a specialty bakery. While some might gag at such desecrations of historic ethnic foods, as Woody Allen did in Annie Hall, or even disapprovingly shriek "cultural appropriation," most people approve.
After all, nothing brings people together such as that basic necessity of life: food. And so food companies, restaurant associations, grocery stores, and others routinely conduct multi-cultural food festivals in various venues across the country, introducing new foods to an appreciative public.
In Philadelphia, that city of brotherly love, a civic organization, Sunflower Philly, teamed up with Eat Up the Borders, whose mission is "to break down our everyday barriers through shared experiences through language, food, and culture," to sponsor a Philadelphia food truck event, Taste of Home, on Father's Day last Sunday. Food, family fun — and a desperate shot of business income for food truck–owners, most of whom are immigrants.
But a few people, a few organizations complained about the presence of...wait for it...an Israeli food truck, Moshava. And how did the event's organizers, those brave believers in diversity, pluralism, and multiculturalism respond to this threat? They caved. Almost immediately. The food festival founded to break down barriers instead threw up a hate-filled solid one, disinviting Moshava. Although EUTB's founder, Cindy Ngo, privatized the group's social media accounts, others captured it.
Initially, Eat Up the Borders indicated that it did not intend to relent to pressure.
"We will not be private on our values, which are uplifting the immigrate [sic] voices," it said in an Instagram post on Friday. "Our concern is not where they have immigrated from but giving a platform to small businesses here in Philadelphia." Moshava responded with three applause emojis.
But on Saturday morning, the group reversed course.
"In order to provide the best experience to all, we decided to remove one of our food vendors from Sunday's event," it wrote on Instagram. "This decision came from listening to the concerns of community that we love and serve. Our intent is never to cause harm. We're sorry, and we realize being more educated is the first step to preventing that from happening again."
Oh. Which community does EUTB "love and serve" — a hate-filled, excluding one or an inclusive one? Sunflower Philly also blamed the excluded Moshava, not the victimizer(s), for agreeing to cancel the event at the last minute. They are "inclusive" only to those "who are aligned with our mission," as they so tellingly explain.
The only truthful explanation came from the honored excludee, Moshava, which is the only participant that emerged with honor.
“The organizers of the event heard rumors of a protest happening because of us being there and decided to uninvite us from fear that the protesters would get aggressive and threaten their event,” the post said. “We were really hoping that the organizers @eatuptheborders and @sunflowerphilly would step up to the plate and defend local, small and immigrant based businesses, no matter where they are from (as per their so called ‘mission statement’) but by the looks of it fear, violence, and intimidation got the best of them.”
Moshava also said it believed that Eat Up The Borders had given in to antisemitism.
“We really do hope that in the future you don’t succumb to such antisemitic and dividing rethoric[sic] and keep true to your words of a safe environment for all religions and nationalities — not just all of them except Israeli and Jewish ones,” the company’s account posted.
Sunflower Philly and Eat Up The Borders are poison; not healthy for citizens of a vibrant city of brotherly love.
Moshava's food improves health; expands the brain. So try the latter while avoiding the former's events. You'll be glad you did.
Image via Picryl.
UPDATE: This post has been updated to add several paragraphs that were inadvertently deleted during the publication process.
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