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A Kosher Restaurant In New Jersey Has Become The Latest Target of Online Jewish Hate

By 01/20/2022 5:00 PMNo Comments

Anti-Israel activists are now ganging up against a quaint Kosher restaurant in New Jersey with an all-new modus operandi: bad online reviews. 

Located in Teaneck, N.J., “Yalla”-which literally translates to “Let’s Go” in Israel-has attracted some online attention (Yalla also happens to be an Arabic word), though not in a good way. The restaurant has been hit with a swathe of antisemitic comments online, including claims that the food served there was “stollen.”

According to Yalla’s owner, Jacob Goldberg, who is Israeli, over the last few years, he has gotten a number of one-star reviews from people claiming: “I stole their land; I stole the name; I stole the food. It has nothing to do with anything here. It’s ridiculous.” Most of the time, Goldberg simply flags the reviews on Google and asks that they be removed. “Sometimes,” he explains, “it’s very obviously hate speech, and it comes down. But if it’s food-related—like I found a hair in my food—even though someone from Damascus is posting it and has obviously never been to my restaurant, the computer doesn’t flag it.”

Source: JNS (screenshot)

Giving up on the algorithm last week, Goldberg responded to the review himself, setting off a firestorm as the poster urged Palestinian supporters via social media to add more one-star, or unfavorable, reviews of Yalla. 

A woman also posted a TikTok video and said, “So this Israeli restaurant in Teaneck, N.J., is falsely advertising Palestinian, Middle Eastern food. This is what their menu looks like, falafel and shawarma. Uh no. So, us Palestinians have to do the job. They messed with the wrong people. … Free Palestine.”

Within the next few hours, Yalla’s 4.6-star rating dropped to under 3.9 and then even lower all the way to a 2.8. The review listings were suddenly filled with comments like “Stolen Palestinian food and the owner has left his manner … cultural appropriation at it’s [sic] finest … bad place DON’T GO THERE AND WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!” and “No one food on here is ‘Israeli.’ Keep it moving guys this place is absolutely trash and their food has NO taste yet overpriced. They steal the thoughts and the lands and serve you s**t on a plate. Never again.”

Goldberg believes there were at least 300 one-star reviews posted that night, some of which also included Palestinian flags and the words “Free Palestine.” In response to the incident, the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society that maintains contact with the Big Tech companies, is currently speaking with Google about the Yalla incident.

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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