Conflict Kitchen, a US-based restaurant that, "only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict," announced its re-opening today after temporarily closing down after receiving death threats.
Run by artist Jon Rubin and located in the Oakland neighbourhood in the US, Conflict Kitchen, "rotates identities every few months in relation to current geopolitical events," as stated on its mission statement online.
We received a letter today containing death threats. We will be closed tomorrow until its credibility can be established by the PGH police.
— conflict kitchen (@conflictkitchen) November 8, 2014
The restaurant defended its food wrappers, containing interviews with Palestinian people, saying: "The Post Gazette's (and lobbying groups') insistence on continually misrepresenting our food wrappers as 'anti-Israeli messages,' shows a distinct lack of research into what is actually on the wrappers.
Like we have done for four years with every other country of focus, our food wrappers contain the viewpoints of multiple people within our focus country on a wide variety of topics. Our Palestinian interviews are no different.
"Perhaps it is hard for some people to hear that Palestinians are not happy with Israeli policies or the actions of some of its citizens, but to cast their viewpoints as simply anti-Israel is to reinforce the simplest, most polarizing, and dehumanizing reading of their lives and perpetuate the silencing of their voices."
The restaurant took to its Twitter handle today to announce its re-opening today.
The controversial "anti-Israel" food wrappers carried text under headlines, like 'Food', 'Settlements', 'Resistance', 'Food Customs', 'Marriage/Dating' and 'Movement/Travel'.
The 'settlement' section which drew most criticism read:
"The Israeli settlements [colonies] in the West Bank perform three key functions. The first is territorial; it's about fragmenting and isolating Palestinian communities. The second is to control the distribution of resources. Water, land and government services are taken away from Palestinians and given to Jewish colonists.
"The third is surveillance. In the Occupied Territories, all the settlements [colonies] are on hills; this gives them a military advantage and lets the settlers [colonists] watch the Palestinians. If Palestinians cross boundaries to harvest olives, the settlers [colonists] can see this and attack them."
The entire pdf version of the food wrapper can be accessed here.
Letters of support accrue daily since temporary closing. Thank you for your sensitive, kind words of encouragement. pic.twitter.com/CsPOKUKNj6
— conflict kitchen (@conflictkitchen) November 10, 2014