Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Contact for Food & Wine Concerning Their Misguided Appreciation of Reem Assil

Michael Lumish

The purpose of my last piece entitled, An Open Letter to Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner Reem Assil was to notify my friends in the Jewish community and the editors of Food & Wine that honoring an anti-Jewish racist like Reem Assil might not be such a good idea.

For obvious reasons, I think that it is an absolutely terrible idea, but we have recourse.

Food & Wine is owned by the Meredith Corporation which is home to all sorts of popular magazines from TIME to PEOPLE to Sports Illustrated.

The CEO of the Meredith Corporation is Tom Harty.  Tom Harty’s personal assistant is Toni Crosby and her email address is toni.crosby@meredith.com. 

I very much hope that each and every one of you send her a quick note objecting to Food & Wine's celebration of Reem Assil and, thereby, the terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

It must be noted that there is nothing to suggest that either Gail Simmons or Food & Wine or the Meredith Corporation in any way seek to promote hatred toward Jewish people or malice toward the State of Israel.

Gail Simmons IS Jewish, for chrissake.

Below is my letter to Ms. Crosby.

I hope that you write your own.
Dear Toni,

I am the writer of a recent piece published in the pro-Jewish / pro-Israel newspaper the Algemeiner published this last April 20th entitled, An Open Letter to Food & Wine Magazine Concerning Its Honoring of Racist Cafe Owner Reem Assil.

I am a PhD in American History out of Penn State University and a regular contributor to a variety of publications around Jewish life and politics.

It is important for me to let you know that I do not believe that either Meredith Corp or Food & Wine are intentionally promoting racism of any sort.

But it also must be understood that Reem Assil's cafe at the Oakland BART Station is racially toxic.

Assil features a floor-to-ceiling mural of a genocidal Jew murderer.

How good can her flatbread possibly be that it overrides admiration for an ideological killer of Jews?

In any case, you have my sincerest appreciation for listening to my concerns and those of all of us who stood vigil for Leon Kanner and Edward Joffe, the college student victims of Rasmea Odeh's genocidal impulses.


  1. I emailed her a letter containing my thoughts and some links.


    1. The link in my comment is not one of the links I sent her.
      Just some music I liked when I was a kid, from 1967, two years before Rasmea went on her murder rampage for "all" of "Palestine."

  2. Imagine if they had a poster of Tom Metzger somewhere in Dixieland, with excellent food, of course.

    1. I keep thinking that the thing to do is buy the beignet shop directly across from Reem's and turn it into a whiskey bar. We'll call it Arik's Joint and it will have a giant floor-to-ceiling mural of Ariel Sharon.

    2. Would prefer some strategy that allows people, especially those that fawn over her in ignorance, to see she is no better than a supporter of the Klan.

      Not necessarily the traditional standing outside with pictures of the dead. Better posters of Odeh, to frame what she is about before a customer even enters. Odeh is the criminal, not the dead.

      Something like a flash mob re-enactment of the killings that Odeh perpetrated, short and attention getting. Imagine that taped, on the internet, a news story, coming from the other direction, opening eyes.

      Unexpected, but systematic. Kind of like a Sabo approach.

      The AMCHA students could probably put on a great production.

      Every armchair quarterback has advice, so chalk all this up to aspiration.

    3. These similar possibilities occurred to me:

      --A poster with a graphic description of what happens to bodies in a bombing.

      --A poster with an actual picture of the bloody, horrible scene of a bombing. It's sickening, but it's reality.

      I like your suggestion of pointing out that Reem's is promoting Ku Klux Klan values. One could also use words like "neo-Nazi" and "Hitlerian." It's no exaggeration when this is about massacring Jews.

    4. Too much graphic a turn off. Unless it can be translated into performance or visual art.

      Made a poster shown here awhile ago, using the same picture as inside Reem's den of hate. Would post these, or other things, like bills around Oakland, much like Sabo does it with his art, to get maximum publicity.

      Are those that support a person murderous criminal hatemonger like Odeh any different than those that support a criminal hatemonger that Metzger, especially in the eyes of those subject to the hatred?

    5. These all sound like good suggestions to me.
      I like the idea of street theatre, but with a timeline for the murders, Odeh's breaking within 24 hours, then jump ahead to her in America claiming to have been raped and tortured for 25 days, etc.
      In other words, make it look the way it is.

    6. People sit in a cafe one moment, talking, no cares, then a flash and they are dead in front of Reem's, ketchup and all. And then who steps out in celebration, someone wearing a mask of Odeh and maybe even Arafat, to embrace.

      Not necessary, but they could pull out a placard that says "Eat at Reem's between bombings!"

  3. Replies
    1. You are far more eloquent than that.

    2. It WAS a question. See I'm not confused or distracted by people who claim not to know any better. Food IS culture. That's kind of the point. To prattle on about 'palestinian' this and 'palestinian' that and then somehow not know who the 'palestinians' are or what they do beggars all belief.

    3. What's interesting to me about the case - aside from the fact that three times Assil's attorneys tried and failed to hit me with TROs - is not even the mere fact of the racist mural.

      It is the mainstreaming of hatred toward Jews on a day-to-day retail level, just as the Nazis did.

      It is their attempt to push against the American tradition of freedom of speech.

      And it demonstrated to me, personally, the deliberalization of the progressive-left.

      Some people have been writing about this recently, but mainly they just talk about the mural.

      I think that they're missing the bigger picture.

  4. Hire Michelle Wolf to do a "comedy" routine outside the joint.

  5. https://www.change.org/p/food-wine-magazine-food-wine-magazine-stop-supporting-terrorism-and-violence-against-jews?

    sign the petition


    1. Hunter Lewis either really believes what he wrote, in which case he is a fool, or he is a complete b.s. artist covering his magazine's and his own a.s.s.

      One only need to have a look of the video of Rasmea Odeh, on her way "out the door," screaming for the liberation of "all of Palestine," which is code for any place where Jews self-govern. One only need know a little history to know that the Arabs only use for the name "Palestine" is geopolitical. It is an antisemitic racket.

    2. The problem is that neither Meredith Corp nor Food & Wine really know much about either the conflict or Rasmea Odeh.

      I do not believe that they have ill-intent.

      Certainly Gail Simmons has no ill-intention toward either the Jewish people or the State of Israel.

      But they don't really seem to get that venerating a Jew murderer is not such a good idea because they don't really see Rasmea Odeh in that light.

      They have not listened or read William Jacobson - I feel reasonably certain - and they honestly do not know much about the case and, therefore, as reasonable people they seek the middle ground between us and Reem Assil.

      This is, of course, a bit like trying to find the middle ground between the Jewish people and those, like Yassir Arafat, who want us dead or gone from the very land of our ancestry.

    3. So that's the argument for stretching the range between "pro-Palestinian" and Zionist position. Instead of offering a compromise in Judea and Samaria, we should demand all of the Mandate Palestine (including Jordan), and maybe then "reasonable" people will conclude that the (all of west of the river) Israel is a reasonable "middle ground" position. This is what the other side is doing very successfully.