A pizza restaurant in the heart of the student district of Leeds has been reported to the police for its social media posts saying that “Z1on1sts (Zionists) not welcome” and asking people to suggest toppings for an “Anti-Z1on1sts (Zionist) pizza”.
One member of the Leeds Jewish community told Jewish News that “given that the Italian colours are green, red and white, perhaps the only way to make a pizza look Palestinian is if the crust is charcoal”. He also questioned how the restaurant was equipped to identify who among its customers was or was not a Zionist.
But an angry woman who answered the phone at Headingley’s Ecco Pizzeria said: “I don’t know where you are getting this from, but all we are doing is supporting a Palestinian charity, and I don’t think supporting a charity is doing anything wrong.”
Jewish News was invited to inspect the menu, on which is featured a “Palestine Pizza”, with ingredients including “caramelised sumac onions, pulled sumac chicken, cherry tomatoes and olives, toasted pine nuts, jalapeño, coriander and tahini drizzle”.
On 5 November, on its Instagram account, the pizzeria — whose chef is a former Egyptian called Mohammed el Abd — posted: “Our leaders and millions of others whose hearts are now perfectly possessed by Satan appear to be unaffected by the most graphic images imaginable if the ethnicity and religion is right.”
It added: “What astonishes us at Ecco is that you don’t require a Harvard degree to witness the demonic forces at play, of the Israeli government and its allies. The haunting images of innocent children who have lost their lives will forever remain etched in our hearts, evoking both deep sorrow and anger…It is evident that malevolent forces are taking pleasure in the suffering of women and children”. The post is accompanied by a graphic of the Palestinian flag above a pizza, together with the words: “Anti-Zionism Pizza”.
A previous Instagram post from the pizzeria said: “All profits of our Palestinian Pizza will be going to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine). Please raise awareness of this campaign with your friends and family. If you’re offended by the post or by the pizza for Palestine, feel free to unfollow.”
Ecco Pizzeria is understood to be patronised by many students, including members of the university’s Jewish Society.
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