by Khadijah Ali
On the evening of September 2, 2020, vandals again attacked the Foodbenders restaurant in Bloordale (westend of Toronto), this time smashing the storefront window.
Bloor Street is one of the main thoroughfares in Toronto yet the vandals acted with total impunity.
“We don’t yet know who did this. We are reviewing the video now,” said Kimberley Hawkins, Foodbenders owner and operator.
“There are certain thugs out there who think they can get away with anything and, in a way, they’re right. The last time something like this happened, the police knew who the perpetrators were and refused to charge them. They’re all working together.”
Over the past three months, Ms. Hawkins has endured vandalism and threats of physical violence on a daily basis, mainly from members of the Jewish Defence League.
In 2000/2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), America’s domestic spy agency, designated the Jewish Defence League (JDL), as a known terrorist organization.
While banned in the US, it operates freely in Canada.
Its members have been especially aggressive in recent days, holding rallies and encouraging their followers to “visit” Foodbenders.
“We will not be deterred from our mission of providing delicious, healthy food and speaking out against Israeli apartheid,” said Ms. Hawkins.
The perpetrator of the latest attack on Foodbenders has not been named yet but many members of the Toronto community have strong suspicions who might be behind the attack.
In July, a member of JDL, the pro-Zionist outfit, vandalized the front of Foodbenders.
The restaurant’s ‘crime’ was to hang pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist signs.
Even though the woman who vandalised Foodbenders was caught on camera and identified, the police refused to charge her.
Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a group that promotes understanding between different faith communities, issued the following statement on July 14 pertaining to pro-Israeli groups’ targeting of Foodbenders.
“The Jewish Defense League, along with mainstream Canadian Zionist organizations, began a concerted campaign to inflict irreparable harm on the owner and her business. Subsequent to interventions by the JDL, B’nai Brith and the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, numerous food delivery services and online apps including Uber, Door Dash, Ritual, Square and Shopify—resources essential to any restaurant that wants to survive during the pandemic – cut their ties to Foodbenders. A defamation lawsuit and an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal complaint have also been filed against the restaurant.”
The intention of the pro-Israel lobby is to “bankrupt the progressive, pro-Palestinian restaurant,” according to Yves Engler, a Canadian author and journalist.
Repeated acts of vandalism against the restaurant and the police’s refusal to charge the perpetrators are extremely worrying.
No politician from any level of government--city, province or federal--has condemned the violent attacks against Foodbenders and its owner Ms. Hawkins.