Conflict Kitchen, a Pittsburgh eatery that recently came under fire for serving Palestinian cuisine with messages from Palestinians living in Gaza and the U.S. on the wrappers, has closed until further notice after receiving a letter containing death threats, according to its Facebook page.
“We will be closed until the credibility of the letter can be established by the Pittsburgh police. We hope to reopen shortly,” the post reads. The legitimacy of the letter is currently being investigated.
Conflict Kitchen's owner, Jon Rubin, declined to comment on the suggestion of the police.
Rubin told the Jewish Week last month that “Pittsburgh’s a small town, and we don’t have much cultural diversity. We need to represent cultures that are not represented here, on a culinary level and on a political level.”
The menu features classic Palestinian fare including Musakhan, toasted flatbread topped with chicken, sumac and pine nuts; Rumaniyya, eggplant, lentil and tart pomegranate stew; and Maftoul, Palestinian couscous with slow-cooked chicken and chickpeas in a fragrant broth. All meat is halal, though not kosher.
Some in the Pittsburgh Jewish community found Rubin's choice of Palestinian cuisine distasteful, or worse. Some Jewish organizations cited the Palestinian focus as “one-sided and anti-Israel,” according to local media reports.
“It was a bit upsetting to see the response from some of the Jewish community,” he said. “Continuing to perceive the Palestinian people and Palestinian culture as a threat will only fan the flame.”