January 21, 2019

Local Kosher Café Faces Boycotts, Anti-Semitic Slurs Because Owner Is Trump Supporter

Asher Caffe and Lounge opened its doors in Boyle Heights for the first time on July 12 and was greeted with protests and chants of anti-Semitic slurs because the kosher restaurant’s owner is a supporter of President Trump.

Asher Shalom, the owner of the restaurant, shared a Facebook post from a Donald Trump fan page that stated, “I wish Democrats would fight as hard for Americans as they do for illegals.” He also shared a post from someone named Garth Limburg that read, “We bring people from sh*thole countries because sh*thole Democrats need sh*thole votes so they can turn America into a sh*hole.”

Additionally, Shalom re-tweeted a February 2017 tweet from Trump that read, “Our legal system is broken! ‘77% of our refugees allowed into the U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries!’ (WT) SO DANGEROUS!”

These posts led a group called Defend Boyle Heights, which hails itself as “an anti-gentrification coalition,” to advocate a boycott against the restaurant due to their “anti-immigrant” owner.

“We already know the dangers the Gentry bring to our communities with their trigger happy hands to call the cops on regular hood sh*t,” Defend Boyle Heights wrote on Facebook. “Now we have #GentryTrumpSupporters and make money off the communities they hate so much! F*CK ‘EM!”

When they learned of the exact timing of the restaurant’s opening, Defend Boyle Heights wrote in another Facebook post, “Show up tomorrow and let them know that the Gentry Trump Supporters are NOT welcomed in our hood in any creative way you please!!!” They also referred to Shalom as a “xenophobe.”

Shalom’s son, David, told The Daily Wire that they faced “anti-Semitic slurs” as well as “pro-Palestinian chants” during the protests. The protests also consisted of chants of “these racists have got to go” and “Gentry, get the f*ck out” as well as protesters harassing restaurant customers with cries of “Shame!”

Here are a couple of videos sent to the Journal from the boycotts:

Additionally, the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce revoked Shalom’s membership to their organization and also called for a boycott.

Shalom responded to the criticism with a statement that he immigrated to America 30 years ago and that several of his employees are immigrants.

“I believe that all people should be treated with humanity, dignity and respect – there is no hate tolerated at Asher Caffè & Lounge,” Shalom said. “It has always been my vision to create a communal space for Boyle Heights where family, friends and colleagues can come together over good food and to celebrate what makes our community so great.”

Currently, the restaurant has a three-star rating on Yelp. While there were plenty of posts alleging that Shalom is a “racist” and a “xenophobe” for supporting Trump, others were complimentary of the restaurant.

“A nice grab and go place with helpful staff, and pretty décor,” Yelp user named Queen R. wrote. “Also if you can’t find parking- they bring it to your car!!! This was perhaps the most amazing thing.”

Another user named Ayton A. wrote, “Love having another great kosher option to eat near my office in DTLA. The place is conveniently located & has ample parking. The food is excellent and the service is great. My favorite is the shakshuka and the Margherita flatbread.”