Philadelphia Culinary Festival Cancelled Amid Furor Over Disinvitation of Israeli Food Truck
June 21, 2021
A culinary festival that was supposed to take place on Sunday in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood ended up being cancelled after controversy erupted over the disinvitation of an Israeli vendor.
The “Taste of Home” event — organized by the Eat Up the Borders and Sunflower Philly groups — was called off a day after it was announced that the Moshva Philly food truck had been removed from the lineup of participants.
“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,” an Eat Up the Borders statement published on Saturday said. “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 Philly had said it was “deeply saddened” by the decision, noting, “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.”
Backlash to the festival’s move quickly grew.
A joint statement issued by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia, and the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia branch said they were “deeply disturbed” by the decision.
“We have spoken with the event organizers and expressed that we unequivocally disagree with their decision,” the statement said. “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 vile antisemitic rhetoric and threats of violence lobbed at the organizers was utterly despicable,” it added.
On Sunday, Sunflower Philly wrote on Instagram, “Due to the ongoing situation with one of our event partners… we have decided to cancel the ‘Taste of Home’ event today. We will continue to host events with people of all races, nationalities and sexual orientations who are aligned with our mission.”
As of Sunday, Eat Up the Borders had deactivated its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Following the cancellation, Moshava Philly said, “Although we were disappointed with how the situation was greatly mishandled we do not believe the organizers intention came from an antisemitic place but the threats they were receiving to their event were. Our shared goal for the future is to steer away from violence and hatred and be able to share a platform with all members of our community and collectively share our cultures.”