Toronto restaurant owner says media, government “influenced by Zionist forces”

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Foodbenders restaurant Photo: Rebel News

Located at 1162 Bloor Street West in Toronto, Ontario Foodbenders is a “local Toronto food company offering take-out meals, catering services and wholesale supply of healthy and delicious prepared foods.”

On July 2, 2020 Foodbenders issued the following statement:

I want to address accusations of anti-Semitism regarding our social media and sidewalk sign. The first thing I will say is that I love Jewish people and they are welcome in my store. I have never said anything about Jewish people. ❤️ I do not believe criticism of the Zionist political ideology, Israel or the Greater Israel Project, or pointing out its racist supremacist foundations amounts to criticism of the Jewish people or even Israeli citizens. Some people do believe this and may interpret these criticisms as anti-Semitic, and others will deliberately conflate the two to label you as racist with the primary goal of silencing discussion on Israel. Other accusations of anti-Semitism are being construed from viral screen shots actively being spread by the Jewish Defence League and now some people in our community. The JDL is fringe group that does not represent the majority of Jewish people in Canada. It creates propaganda to paint Palestinian rights activists as anti-Semitic and cancel BDS activism. Removed from context these posts may have appeared as anti-Semitic, linking all Jewish people to the JDL, or invoking harmful anti-Jewish tropes. Specifically I made comments about Canadian media and government being influenced by Zionist forces in this country. I still believe this to be true, but I sincerely apologize if the language suggested I was referring to Jewish people or hurt anyone in any way. I never want to participate in hate and I am always open to learning. Taking my words out of context and reposting things without speaking with me is adding to the daily death threats and harassment I have been surviving for weeks. Many Jewish people who know me have come forward privately to say they support me. I am asking them to publicly support me now because I don’t deserve this. I would also like everyone to consider the double standard occurring here. I am being doxed and threatened with fines and legal action for suspected racism when I am genuinely not racist, while the hundreds of Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian death and deportation threats I am receiving are not being elevated to this level or even heard by the media.

In an interview with BlogTO Foodbenders’ owner Kimberly Hawkins said:

I believe that Palestinians should be free and have the same equal human rights as everyone and that’s not a stance I will apologize for…

When I’m making a statement about Zionism, I am not referring to Jewish people… It’s about the state government…

I think that businesses have to get political because we’re at a stage in our capitalism where we’re headed on the path of destruction…

I believe food is very political and I just don’t see a future for us if we continue to maintain the status quo.

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