I looked recently at the Philadelphia Inquirer’s expert commentary on the Israeli-Gaza conflict, and asked whether it added anything useful to the discussion or if it instead was intended to confirm the assumptions and preconceived notions of a target audience.
Now let’s ask the same question, but as to the news-side coverage of the antisemitic protest that occurred on December 3 when a mob descended on the falafel restaurant, Goldie, at 19th and Sansom and began chanting “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” The mob targeted Goldie after it was identified as a Jewish-owned business by the Philly Palestine Coalition in a boycott announcement made on Instagram. The hollow excuse given in the call for boycotting this “Zionist” restaurant – meaning owned by a Jewish and Israeli man — was that it was “stealing” and “appropriating” “Palestinian food.”
Although this call to boycott local businesses based on the religion and national origin of their owners was blasted out to thousands of Instagram followers on October 30, not a word was published about it by the Inquirer/Daily News for the next two months (based on a search of the archives maintained online).
The Inquirer published its first news story about the Goldie protest late that same day, December 3. Although this article is apparently oddly not available on the paywall protected archive, the first version of it omitted any reference in its written text to the mob’s language “charging” the Philadelphia falafel maker with “genocide” (the updated version on-line also contains nothing in the text about the mob’s accusatory words but does include a tweet from Governor Shapiro who retweeted a video of the mob action). Instead, the article opened with the statement that “Protesters were critical of some local businesses” without describing the nature of the “criticism” the mob leveled.
We must speculate as to why the reporter would have omitted writing about these relevant and material facts to readers. One reasonable supposition is that the reporter recognized the chant for what it was — a despicable lie, intending to not only libel Goldie, but also to cheapen the very concept of genocide by absurdly “charging” a falafel maker in Philadelphia with this heinous crime (the word “genocide” was created post-WWII to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder during the Holocaust).
As the writer Yair Rosenberg wrote in 2022 after a conservative Utah man made claims similar to the chant of the mob at Goldie, “it’s hard to escape the fact that people just love accusing Jews of genocide.” Making “the Jews guilty of genocide doesn’t just obviate non-Jewish guilt for permitting Jewish genocide. It also justifies the next Jewish genocide.”
The mob at Goldie quickly became national news and the next article engaged in a lawyerly defense of the mob’s conduct. It described the conduct at Goldie as a “brief stop in an otherwise calm three-hour protest” and quoted an organizer who said “[w]e made a two-to-four-minute pit stop.” The news article quoted a Mennonite pastor from Germantown who said that the response to the antisemitic chant was a “distraction.”
Would the Inquirer have given similar coverage to a three-hour march through Philadelphia by an organization that included a “two-to-four minute” stop of vile racist chanting in front of an African American owned business?
By December 5, the White House was involved, joining with Governor Shapiro in condemning the mob’s conduct.
On December 6 the news reporters tried yet another angle to deflect attention from the mob’s actions, in an article titled “Goldie workers say they were fired for wearing Palestinian flag pins.” This roughly 1300-word article detailed allegations made by two former workers who claim they were fired for violating a new company rule against wearing signage on clothing while at work. These firing occurred in mid-November, according to the article, and they were not of interest to the paper for the next few weeks, up through December 3.
Obviously, but for the mob action in front of Goldie on December 3, the paper would not have had the least bit of interest in these firings. But, since the antisemitic chant in front of Goldie had brought discredit and national embarrassment to the narrative the Inquirer supports, any dirt it could throw against the business involved would have to do.
Finally, many of the above articles also discussed, with a straight face, whether the owners of Goldie had committed a sin by making donations to United Hatzalah, an Israeli volunteer ambulance and rescue service that was heavily involved with rescuing and treating individuals injured during the 10/7 attacks, and retrieving the bodies of those killed. President Biden met with the President of United Hatzalah on October 18.
The tendentious suggestion of these articles being that United Hatzalah was not sufficiently pure of any association with the Israeli military, and, therefore, by committing the sin of supporting the “tainted” ambulance and rescue service charity, Goldie deserved the punishment inflicted on it by the mob. Could this herring be more red? Not to the Inquirer, apparently.
The last word in this matter goes to Senator John Fetterman, who wrote that the protestors “could be protesting Hamas’ systematic rape of Israeli women and girls or demanding the remaining hostages be immediately released” but instead “they targeted a Jewish restaurant. It’s pathetic and rank antisemitism.”
Such plain spoken truths cannot be reported in the Inquirer, unfortunately.
Paul Snitzer is a businessman and lawyer residing in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.