Would you like fries with your anti-Israel propaganda? A pop-up restaurant called Conflict Kitchen has been serving what it calls Palestinian food, wrapped in anti-Israel leaflets.
The leaflets contain quotes from interviews with Palestinians in support of terrorism and the destruction of Israel. And all of this is made possible in part by funds from the Heinz Endowment, under the direction of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Conflict Kitchen is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, near Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. According to its website, the restaurant “only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict” in an effort to “expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus country.” Other countries it has presented include Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba Venezuela and Iran.
Each iteration of the restaurant is accompanied by events, performances and discussion panels. The restaurant’s current focus is on Palestine, and its menu and food wrappers reflect that focus. The wrappers claim the text “is taken directly from interviews we conducted with Palestinians living in both Palestine and the United States.” No quotation marks or direct attributions are supplied.
The text on each wrapper touches on a variety of subjects, from food to marriage to religion to settlements. One panel calls the creation of the State of Israel “an intentional and ongoing offensive.” Another justifies terror by claiming “You’re pushing them to the absolute extreme. So what do you expect? Palestinians are not going to just let you in and drop their arms. No, they’re going to kill and they are going to die.”
Other accusations leveled against Israel in the text include deliberately cutting off Palestinians’ water supply, preventing non-Jews from becoming Israeli citizens, hand-picking the members of the Palestinian Authority by eliminating all the non-corrupt candidates, undermining the Palestinian economy by importing products instead of buying locally, and capriciously harassing law-abiding Palestinians trying to access Israeli services.
Sponsored events accompanying the Conflict Kitchen’s Palestinian iteration have included talks by Laila El-Haddad, a Palestinian Arab activist who supports a one-state solution and the boycott campaign against Israel, and University of Pittsburgh professor Ken Boas, a board member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA. The latter reportedly compared Israel to South Africa under apartheid and called on the audience to support a boycott of Israel.
Requests by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to include a pro-Israel, or mainstream, perspective were rejected by Conflict Kitchen’s Jewish co-director, Jon Rubin, an associate professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.
Rubin told the Pittsburgh News that “the goal of our project is to represent the voices of the people that we are working with, so it does not make sense to have someone from Israel on every one of the panels. We may have an Israeli perspective at some point, and I understand their desire to have their narrative told, but they have plenty of other formats to do that.”
Conflict Kitchen’s food wrappers indicate it “is funded through food sales, as well as support from The Sprout Fund, the Heinz Endowment, The Benter Foundation and the Studio for Creative Inquiry.” The Heinz Endowment and Benter Foundation were not listed as supporters of the Iranian iteration.
A spokesman for the Heinz Endowment told the Washington Free Beacon that it gave Conflict Kitchen a $50,000 grant last April to support its relocation to another site in Pittsburgh. He went on to stress “the opinions of Conflict Kitchen do not represent those of the Heinz Endowment.” He would not say whether the Endowment would continue to support the restaurant. Teresa Heinz Kerry is chairwoman for the fund.