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Food courier in France allegedly refuses to serve Jews

Pair of kosher eateries in Strasbourg files complaint against Deliveroo driver accused of refusing to offer them service

Illustrative: A Deliveroo driver is seen in traffic in north London, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Robert Stevens, File)
Illustrative: A Deliveroo driver is seen in traffic in north London, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Robert Stevens, File)

Two kosher restaurants in the French city of Strasbourg have said they were declined service by at least one deliveryman who allegedly said he does not want to serve Jews.

Both incidents happened Thursday amid a partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited restaurants to offering only takeout meals delivered by couriers.

The deliveryman who allegedly refused the kosher eateries service was working for Deliveroo. It was not immediately clear whether both incidents involved the same employee, the news site DNA reported Sunday.

At the first restaurant, the employee arrived to take an order to a patron and asked the restaurant’s staff what sort of restaurant it was. They told him it served Israeli cuisine, to which he replied: “I don’t serve Jews” and said that he was canceling the order, according to Raphael Nisand, a lawyer representing that restaurant.

Later in the day, a second kosher restaurant was also declined service by a Deliveroo employee, DNA reported.

On Friday, the owners of both restaurants complained to police of discrimination and alerted the Consistoire, French Jewry’s organization responsible for religious services, and the National Bureau Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.

Prosecutors in the eastern city of Strasbourg confirmed that “an investigation is underway to identify the suspects” after the restaurant owners filed complaints, according to a police source.

Nisand said that on Sunday he filed complaints against the couriers as well as Deliveroo on behalf of the Israelite Consistory of the Bas-Rhin department.

“The Bas-Rhin Israelite Consistory considers it unacceptable that deliverers working for Deliveroo openly practice anti-Semitic discrimination,” its president Maurice Dahan said in a statement.

Contacted by AFP, Deliveroo said it had reached out to the two restaurant owners.

“We are taking this incident very seriously and immediately opened an internal inquiry,” the Britain-based firm said in a statement, adding that if the allegations are confirmed, any couriers involved would be fired.

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