Israel-hate makes Munich restaurateur shut up shop

“I always have to get into discussions and I don’t want to do it any more”


An Israeli-style restaurant in Munich is closing its doors after 16 years because its owner is tired of being a punch-bag for Israel-haters.

Florian Gleibs, 45, the son of Iraqi Jews who emigrated to Israel in 1951, recently decided to turn his Israeli-style establishment, ‘Schmock’, into a Laotian restaurant. He hopes the barrage of anti-Israel harassment that started during Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza will come to an end.

“I always have to get into discussions and I don’t want to do it any more,” he said.

Mr Gleibs, who also has a successful restaurant called ‘Meshugge’, connected to a Yiddish theater, calls Munich “a perfect city, open-minded and cosmopolitan. Not everyone [acts this way], just some people. I get a little bit angry.

“I am not scared for my life,” he added, and praised Munich’s Deputy Mayor Josef Schmid, who is “very connected with the Jewish community and fighting against the stupid bastards”.

Mr Gleibs can be described as provocative. His menu featured humorous exhortations such as “Germans, drink Jewish wine!” — a play on the 1933 Nazi boycott call, “Germans, don’t buy from Jews”.

But in addition to attracting those who appreciated his cuisine and his humour, his restaurant became a magnet for crazies, he said.

Especially since the summer of 2014, guests “started asking all sorts of stupid questions,” he recalled, “like: ‘Isn’t hummus and falafel actually from the Arabs? You cannot call it Israeli.’ I said: ‘Don’t you know Israel has millions of Arab Jews who were kicked out of their countries?’ This is what they don’t know,” said Mr Gleibs, who was inspired to cook by his grandmother from Baghdad.

Others have told him to “go back where you come from and leave the Palestinians”.

“I don’t have to go back to Tunis or Egypt or all the other countries where they kicked out the Jews. So I have to explain, and then after a while they say, ‘You are so nice and you are a funny guy, but you are not a Jew.’ To them, a Jew has to have a big nose and be really clever,” added Mr Gleibs, who described himself as tall and blue-eyed.

One guest said he thought that Jews in Germany did not have to pay taxes “because we killed so many of them”.
Another wrote to him calling him a “corrupt thief who hawks goods produced by terrorists on stolen land, with stolen water, and fertilized with Palestinian blood”.

Such harassment “was the reason I said I prefer to serve spring rolls”, he said. His new Laotian restaurant “will run perfectly” and no one will ask about the dark side of Laotian history: “Nobody cares about that because there no Jews involved.”

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