Palestinian restaurant receives death threats amid rise in hate crimes

The controversy sparked after a customer took a photo of the phrase "From The River To The Sea" on the restaurant's menu.

Julia Joseph and Adolfo Carrion

Dec 29, 2023, 10:53 PM

Updated 170 days ago

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Hate crimes around the city have been on the rise since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, and a Palestinian restaurant in Brooklyn is one the latest hate crime victims.
Ayat Restaurant received death threats, and owner Abdul Elenani is now worried for the restaurant's safety - and his own.
"He threatened us by saying, 'Us Jews are coming for you.' And another guy said, 'You [expletive] I'm coming to burn your crap down,' and another guy threatened that he will come and bomb our places tomorrow," said Elenani.
The controversy sparked after a customer took a photo of the phrase "From The River To The Sea" on the restaurant's menu. Elenani says that it's simply a decadeslong slogan that is a call for peace.
The phrase has been blurred by the ongoing war and has become an international topic of debate, as some feel it is a call for unity while others say it is a call for the destruction of Israel.
"The definition we have created as Palestinians, for Palestinians to live in freedom, for Palestinians to have equal rights," said Elenani about the phrase.
Elenani considered removing the phrase from the menu, but a friend convinced him that he should not make that sacrifice. Elenani reminds New Yorkers that Ayat welcomes people of all backgrounds, and that he does not tolerate hate.


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