A chain of craft stores in the US has been accused of anti-Semitism for refusing to sell Hannukah-themed items, leading to an Internet backlash and calls for a boycott.
Last week, blogger Ken Berwitz posted that neighbors were reporting that a New Jersey branch of Hobby Lobby didn’t have any Hannukah or Jewish-themed merchandise for sale. He said workers asked about the omission replied, “We don’t cater to you people,” meaning Jews, and that including Jewish items would be against the values of the chain’s Christian owner.
Berwitz’s post generated a torrent of comments around the web, many of which called for a boycott of the chain, and was picked up by several news sites, including the Daily Kos, who reported on Monday that Hobby Lobby was monitoring its Facebook page to remove any posts about the issue.
A local news site reported Monday that a Hobby Lobby representative wrote to the mayor of Marlboro, New Jersey, where the store in question is located, and said that “alleged comments made by employees are currently being investigated and will be addressed accordingly. These comments are in no way indicative of Hobby Lobby culture, the owners and the operators.”
Hobby Lobby, a Oklahoma-based chain of over 500 stores that, according to its website, operates “in a manner consistent with biblical principles,” is privately owned by Evangelical Christian businessman David Green.
Last year, in a case still pending, Green sued the US government over a requirement that morning-after pills and similar post-conception birth-control measures be included in a health plan offered to employees, saying that doing so would violate “deeply held religious beliefs.”