Advocates for the Palestinians exerted their terrorism talents in or near two prominent American cities 3,000 miles apart in recent weeks.

Column: Importing Arab Terrorism For A Philly Food Fight And Oakland’s Cruel Sea

It turns out that Arab terrorism is not restricted to Israel.

Advocates for the Palestinians exerted their terrorism talents in or near two prominent American cities 3,000 miles apart in recent weeks. First they prevented a privately-owned Israeli ship from unloading its cargo in Oakland, Calif, across the bay from San Francisco. On Sunday, they succeeded in canceling a food festival in the Kensington section of Philadelphia because the organizers dared to allow an Israeli food truck to participate.

Their notion of terrorism in America is tame when compared to terrorism in Israel. Their organized form of terrorism has not, as far as I am aware, involved murdering or seriously injuring American Jews or causing substantial damage. But for years many have committed low-level crimes and behaved in a crude manner when protesting against Israel.

In Philadelphia and Oakland, they invoked fear. That compares to what Palestinian extremists do in Israel’s territories – they terrorize those who they cannot brainwash.

This past Saturday night, I spotted a Facebook post clogged with accusations that two nonprofits behaved like Nazis when they excluded the Israeli food truck, known as Moshava Philly, from participating in Taste of Home, billed as an “event celebrating diversity through food, art, entertainment, community” planned for last Sunday in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, a few miles north of Independence Hall and south of my residence in Northeast Philly.

“Tree of Life synagogue shooting in your state wasn’t enough hate for you,” posted Adrienne Cohen.

“When anti-Semitism rose in Europe,” wrote Robin Unger, “they did the same thing. Ban Jewish businesses, exclude them from the community they had thought they belonged to. This is the exact same thing, under pressure from anti-Semitic groups.”

One sponsor of the festival, called Eat Up the Borders, posted a confusing non-explanation which especially infuriated critics: “In order to provide the best experience to all, we decided to remove one of our food vendors from Sunday’s event. This decision came from listening to the concerns of community which we love and serve. Our intent is never to cause any harm. We’re sorry, and we realize being more educated is the first step to prevent that from happening again.”

Fortunately, news reports were posted by Sunday night explaining much of what happened. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted extensively from Moshava’s posts, which wrote, “We do not believe the organizers’ intention came from an antisemitic place but the threats they were receiving to their event were.”

JTA recounted, “It began late last week when Eat Up The Borders announced the lineup for the third iteration of Taste of Home…Along with eight other vendors including a Mexican restaurant and a tea company, Moshava was on the list for the second month in a row of the festival.” It was to be held at the Sunflower Philly’s site in Kensington.

“The post announcing the lineup,” the JTA report continued, “began attracting comments criticizing the inclusion of an Israeli truck…Initially, Eat Up the Borders indicated that it did not intend to relent to pressure…But on Saturday morning, the group reversed course.”

After dropping Moshava from the list, Eat Up The Borders canceled the event altogether on Sunday.

According to JTA, Moshava rounded out more of the story in a post on its own account, writing, “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.

“We were really hoping that the organizers would step up to the plate and defend local, small and immigrant-based business, no matter where they are from but by the looks of it fear, violence, and intimidation got the best of them,” Moshava’s post continued. “We really do hope that in the future you don’t succumb to such antisemitic and dividing rhetoric (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.”

In one startling admission, Sunflower Philly executive director Melvin Powell told NBC4 that food trucks from both Israeli and Palestinian proprietors were present at past events and there was an agreement from before that one truck would not be present without the other, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The Palestinian truck could not show up on Sunday, prompting Powell to say, “The fact that we couldn’t accurately represent both of them is the reason why we canceled the event today.”

Huh? That begs the question, if the Palestinian truck could not be there, whose fault is that? Why should the Israeli truck owners be penalized? On the surface, this smacks of absurdity. It is probably more about fear.

Dockworkers in Oakland most likely experienced a comparable amount of fear when more than 100 champions for the Palestinians lined up between them and an Israeli container ship called the Volans that docked at the Port of Oakland to unload its cargo last June 8.

Union workers refused to cross the line formed by the protesters, organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center of San Francisco, and this refusal forced the Volans to leave the harbor later in the day, according to The Jewish News of Northern California. The Canadian Jewish News reported that the ship was subsequently blocked at ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert in Canada’s British Columbia.

It only took 10 anti-Israel protesters to stop the union workers at Prince Rupert.

Why wouldn’t the workers cross any of these lines? This demonstration had nothing to do with labor issues. They were protesting Israel’s role in the 11-day flare-up between Israel and Hamas over Gaza. The Volans is not even owned by Israel, but by a private company called ZIM Integrated Shipping Services based in Haifa.

Fear is an understatement. Terror is a more accurate description. It takes a well-coordinated undertaking to frighten the most well-intentioned people into accommodating the perpetrator’s goal.

When dockworkers spotted the line-up of 100 or more demonstrators, that should have been sufficient to freeze them in place. In 2014, they attributed fear to their reaction during a similar incident in Oakland when their union said their refusal to unload the cargo resulted from the “volatility” of the environment, according to The Jewish News.

What else but a terror campaign would compel the groups Eat Up The Borders and Sunflower Philly to agree to a deal about the food trucks? What difference does it make if the Israeli truck is present at a food festival and the Palestinian truck is not, or if it is the reverse?

Why is there no mention of the police? A police presence could have restrained the Oakland lineup, permitting the dockworkers to do their job. The sponsors of the Philly food festival could have consulted with police once they feared the event might be disrupted.

Pennsylvania Rep. Jared Solomon, who is Jewish, said he “contacted law enforcement to discuss the situation,” the Inquirer reported.

At least someone knows why we have police departments.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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One comment

  1. If law enforcement would not do their job there is potential for a lawsuit for lost business and lost wages.