After a ceremonial bill signing Monday morning in Bucks County, Gov. Josh Shapiro spoke forcefully on what he termed “blatant antisemitism” regarding an overnight incident at a Jewish-owned restaurant in Philadelphia.
During a march through Center City, protestors showing their support for Gaza stopped at Goldie’s, an Israeli-style falafel shop, that is part of the CookNSolo group, which is co-owned by Israeli-born Michael Solomonov.
Solomonov owns multiple restaurants in the city, including Zahav, Laser Wolf and K’Far Cafe. Following the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, Solomonov announced he would donate 100% of all sales to Friends of United Hatzalah, a nonprofit emergency medical service.
In front of the building, the group chanted “Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”
Protestors in Philadelphia stand outside of a Jewish & Israeli owned falafel restaurant
“Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” pic.twitter.com/yF7hQwev66
— Jordan (@thatJVG) December 3, 2023
Shapiro was informed about the incident Sunday and noted that “peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy, a democracy that was born right in the city of Philadelphia, just a few blocks from where that mob gathered last night.
“What we saw last night was not peaceful protest. What we saw last night, in my opinion, was blatant antisemitism. It was beyond peacefully protesting some policy difference in the Middle East.
“The purposeful gathering of a mob outside of a restaurant simply because it is owned by a Jewish person … It’s antisemitism, plain and simple. It really harkens back to a dark time in our history. It evokes memories of Kristallnacht in 1930s Germany, and it has no place in this nation on the streets of Philadelphia.”
Led by the Philly Palestine Coalition, protesters also marched through Center City chanting “while you’re watching, bombs are dropping” to Eagles fans in bars. The march also took demonstrators through the heart of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, where protesters accused Penn, Drexel University, and Swarthmore College of being complicit in the ongoing war.
At the same time as the march, several businesses on Walnut Street near the Penn campus were graffitied with messages both condemning Penn and expressing pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel sentiments. Graffiti included the phrases “F**k the [Israel Defense Forces],” “Intifada,” and “Free Palestine.”
“I think it is important that we acknowledge we’ve got some short term challenges and some long term challenges as well,” continued Shapiro. “Over the short term, I think it’s critically important that those who defaced property as was done in Philadelphia last night, those who break the law should be arrested and they should be prosecuted.
“Over the long term, we also have challenges in this country when it comes to education and making sure that people remember our history. History that’s not too long ago, again in 1930s, Germany and in that era, it is very important that people understand that history. We should have a spirited debate and dialogue peacefully and respectfully about what’s happening in the Middle East. I don’t want to rob anyone of the ability to do that peacefully.
“When it crosses a line that becomes blatant antisemitism, it’s critically important that we all speak up every day, those in elected office and those who are in the community. There should be no place for this in our city and there should be no place for this in our Commonwealth and I’ll continue to speak out and call it out when I see it.”