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The organizers of a canceled Philadelphia food truck event apologized for “causing harm to the Jewish community” by booting an Israeli vendor from its roster – a move that critics slammed as bowing to anti-Semitism.
“We understand that our actions have hurt you and we are truly sorry,” organizer Eat Up the Borders posted on its website on Wednesday.
“We want to be very clear that we do not support anti-Semitism or allow anti-Semitism in our spaces. Our actions were ignorant and inexcusable.”
The mea culpa comes after the “Taste of Home” event on Father’s Day was nixed amid furor sparked when the organizers rescinded an invitation to the Israeli food truck, Moshava.
The organizers allegedly received threats of protests if Moshava participated.
EUTB, which says its mission statement is to help small family-owned and immigrant businesses in the city of Brotherly Love, said Moshava attended a May “Taste of Home” event shortly after the series was launched.
“After the event, we received some pushback from activists who criticized the attendance of Moshava,” the statement said. “Not wanting to unintentionally alienate any members of our community, we decided to host a Palestinian food vendor in our future event.”
That’s why a Palestinian vendor was booked for Sunday — but that vendor, who wasn’t named, backed out days before the event.
“After attendees noticed the absence of the Palestinian food vendor, many suggested boycotting and protesting at the event,” the statement said.
Moshava’s invitation was yanked two days before Father’s Day but EUTB said they had the safety of everyone — including the Israeli food truck — in mind. The group said it wanted to continue to work with Moshava and even offered them 10 percent of door sales, according to the statement.
“We now see that excluding any particular vendor in the name of trying to protect them was the wrong decision, the statement said.
“We did what we thought was best in the moment, but we failed,” the statement continued.
“Since then, we have cooperated with authorities to answer any of their concerns. We were ignorant in our actions because we did not take the time to educate ourselves about both sides before taking action which clearly caused harm to the Jewish community.”
Sunflower Philly, the co-organizers whose space was to be used for the event, ultimately made the decision to cancel the event altogether. Sunflower posted an apology of its own on Instagram.
“Sunflower Philly categorically denounces all forms of hatred, discrimination and injustice,” it said in the statement.
The organization said it usually lets promoters and organizations make the call on events, but that will change.
“Moving forward we will be taking a hands-on approach with our productions to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Sunflower Philly stated. “Our daily intention is to be a place of inclusion, diversity, understanding and peace.”
“All mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow,” it concluded.
The Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia welcomed the apologies in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
“Representatives from our organizations will be meeting with the Taste of Home event organizers on July 13th to understand the threats of violence, provide education and urge further action to ensure their events are truly inclusive,” the ADL said.
The group had previously taken issue with a media report that quoted Sunflower Philly saying, in essence, there had been an agreement that the Israeli and Palestinian vendors would both have to participate together or not at all.
“The ‘agreement’ Sunflower Philly has described is discriminatory and constitutes a clear double standard, as it does not appear to apply to Tibetan & Chinese, Turkish & Kurdish, Russian & Ukrainian or any other cuisines hailing from countries engaged in conflict,” the ADL tweeted on Monday.
Neither EUTB, Sunflower nor Moshava responded to inquiries from The Post on Thursday.
Operators of Moshava confirmed they were working with the organizers to “try and educate and grow together in a safe space” for everyone in an Instagram post on Sunday.
“Although we were disappointed with how the situation was greatly mishandled we do not believe the organizers intention came from an antisemitic (sic) place but the threats they were receiving to their event were,” the post said.
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