Artist: Jon Rubin
Date of Action: November 7, 2014
Region: North America
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion
Medium: Mixed Media, Performance Art, Public Art
Confronting Bodies: Conservative pro-Israel groups
Description of Artwork: Conflict Kitchen serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict.
The Incident: From October 2014 Conflict Kitchen has been serving Palestinian food. The food wrappers contain texts drawn from interviews with Palestinians in both Palestine and in Pittsburgh. Conservative pro-Israel groups called these texts "anti-Israeli messages."
A spokesman at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh criticized the restaurant, saying that the Palestinian territories are not "in conflict" with the United States. Furthermore the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith International publicly expressed their "deep concern" to Heinz Endowments, which is a financial backer of Conflict Kitchen. Their president, Grant Oliphant, wrote that "[Heinz Endowments] emphatically does not agree with or support either the anti-Israel sentiments quoted on Conflict Kitchen's food wrappers or the programme's refusal to incorporate Israeli or Jewish voices in its material."
On November 7th Conflict Kitchen received death threats.
Results of Incident: Conflict Kitchen closed down for 5 days due to the death threats. Support, including a public-organised rally, grew as a result of and in response to the threats and accusations.
Pittsburgh restaurant receives death threats in 'anti-Israel messages' furore, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly in New York, Sunday 9 November 2014 12.29 EST
Pittsburgh’s tiny Conflict Kitchen wades into the sprawling Israeli-Palestinian debate, The Washington Post, By Jessica Contrera November 14, 2014
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS, (Conflict Kitchen website)