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Denying Discrimination, Hobby Chain To Sell Chanukah Items

Denying Discrimination, Hobby Chain To Sell Chanukah Items

The president of Hobby Lobby said the Oklahoma-based chain will carry Chanukah items in its stores near areas with large Jewish populations. He also said he would investigate the claim that an employee displayed hostility toward Jews when asked about Chanukah decorations.

Steve Green in an interview with The Associated Press published Saturday said the items will be in his crafts stores in New York and New Jersey by November.

On Friday, Green called Ken Berwitz, who started the anti-Hobby Lobby backlash with a post last week on East Brunswick’s Patch, which covers local news in that New Jersey town. The two spoke for about 15 minutes, according to the AP, and Berwitz said the conversation was “pleasant” and the situation should be “defused.”

Berwitz said in the post that he would never visit the retailer again after being told “We don’t cater to you people here” during a call to a New Jersey Hobby Lobby store in which he inquired whether it would be carrying Chanukah items.

In a statement published Oct. 3 on the Anti-Defamation League’s website, Green apologized for the alleged remark and indicated that his company has “deep respect for the Jewish faith.” The statement made clear that the owners “do not tolerate discrimination at the company or our stores.”

The ADL also issued a statement saying that the organization accepts Green’s apology and “has no reason to believe that Hobby Lobby has refused to stock Chanukah items because of hostility to Jews or anti-Semitism.”

“A store choosing not to carry Hanukkah items does not violate anyone’s rights,” the organization added.

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