Israeli food truck disinvited from Philadelphia festival after threats

‘Eat Up the Borders’ organization deletes its social media accounts amid backlash over its decision to disinvite the Moshava food truck from its event

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

The Moshava food truck in Philadelphia. (Screenshot)
The Moshava food truck in Philadelphia. (Screenshot)

Moshava, an Israeli food truck based in Philadelphia, was disinvited from a food festival in the city slated for Sunday after threats and complaints about its participation.

“We have some unfortunate news to share with all of you. We won’t be attending ‘The Taste of Home’ event, this Sunday, on Father’s Day,” Moshava posted on Instagram on Saturday. “We are deeply saddened by this. 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 festival was being organized by Eat Up the Borders, an organization that says its mission is ​”to break down our everyday barriers through shared experienced through language, food, and culture.” The organization says its goal is to “promote small, family, or immigrant owned businesses within the Philadelphia area.”

Eat Up the Borders deleted both its Facebook and Instagram pages on Sunday amid the uproar. But Moshava, which opened just last month, shared the original post that the organization wrote in announcing the decision to disinvite the Israeli eatery from the event.

“In order to best serve our guests, we decided to remove one of our food vendors for Sunday’s event so that we could deliver an optimal experience to all,” the statement read. “This decision came from listening to the community we wish to serve and love. We do stand by our initiative to give vendors from all nationalities a platform to showcase their talents and provide an awesome experience for all.”

Moshava said it was disappointed and upset at Eat Up the Border’s decision.

“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’),” wrote Moshava on Instagram, “but by the looks of it fear, violence, and intimidation got the best of them.”

Illustrative: A knife sharpening a demonstration at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Culinary Literacy Center on June 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The food truck expressed hope that “in the future you don’t succumb to such antisemitic and dividing rhetoric 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 Philadelphia chapter of the Anti-Defamation League said it was “deeply disturbed” by the incident.

“We have spoken with the event organizers and expressed that we unequivocally disagree with their decision,” the ADL tweeted on Sunday. “We do understand that threats to the organizers were made, and we understand the fear and confusion that comes when your community faces that intimidation.”

The ADL, in a joint statement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia JCRC, said that “the vile antisemitic rhetoric and threats of violence lobbied at the organizers was utterly despicable. This event was planned to celebrate diversity, and to see individuals on social media respond with open prejudice and anti-Jewish hate was shameful and deeply upsetting.”

The ADL said that in the next few days it “will be meeting with the organizers to discuss what happened, provide education on antisemitism and share communal security resources. We look forward to future events where the Moshava food truck, and other Jewish and Israeli ethnic foods, are welcomed and enjoyed by all.”

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