Foodbenders: Sandwich shop's decor might have anti-Israeli meaning | David Menzies investigates

We return yet again to friendly Foodbenders in Toronto, an enjoyable eatery in which hatred, hypocrisy, horror and now hot air are always on the menu and  and served fresh daily.

You may recall the Foodbenders saga. It began in June when owner Kimberly Hawkins placed a sandwich board sign in front of her store stating “F--- the Police” (using the full F-bomb spelling, of course). She also went on social media to extend her anti-police vitriol to the wives and children of the police. Hawkins also happens to be one of those scholars who would like to see the police abolished. Lovely.

And when Hawkins received blowback from citizens who are pro-police, what did she allegedly do? Well, she apparently called the police – but not before (of course) condemning the cops for being behind a smear campaign against her (a conspiracy theory that she’s unable to prove, naturally.)

When I originally reached out to Hawkins for comment, she declined – but not before calling me a “genocidal maniac.” Isn’t the hospitality business grand?

Condemned by Mayor, Premier, Prime Minister

But since her anti-cop fiasco, Hawkins has tripled down on her hateful rhetoric. She’s even gone after specific individuals with defamatory statements. All of which has brought her a world of trouble.

For starters, she posted comments noting that Zionists are not welcome at her restaurant and, astonishingly, compared Zionists to Nazis. Those comments led to condemnation of Hawkins by Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario premier Doug Ford and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Food delivery services such as Uber and Door Dash severed ties with Foodbenders. And apparently, she can no longer accept credit and debit cards for transactions. Foodbenders is a cash-only business these days.

As well, Toronto resident Shai Deluca is now suing Hawkins for defamation, seeking $750,000 in damages. That’s a lot of kale salad…

Also, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against Foodbenders by 86-year-old Elena Aschkenasi based on Hawkins’ stance of refusing service to Zionists at her store.

So, you’d think that Hawkins would want things to calm down and get back to normal; that she would just go back to making soups and sandwiches. But no. That’s because Hawkins now seems to be glorifying… balloon terrorism?

Support for 'incendiary balloons'

While most people associate balloons with good times and celebrations, such is not the case in places as Gaza. In recent years, Palestinian terrorists have been using balloons to carry small improvised explosive devices (IED) into Israel, the idea being that when the balloon eventually crashes the IED will cause a fire.

On occasion, this low-tech, low-cost type of terrorism has proven successful.

Of course, Hawkins has pointed out on social media that her balloon display is not about glorifying terrorism; rather, she calls her inflatables “distress signals. An SOS to the rest of the world calling for an immediate end to the brutal siege and endless violence against the people of Gaza.”

But if she’s trying to play down the terror part of the balloons, why is it she also posted a photo of a bona fide IED-equipped balloon about to be launched into Israel? Funny that…

Alas, when we visited Foodbenders recently to get Hawkins’s side of the story, well, she locked the door and refused to comment. On social media at the time, she said: “He [Menzies] is now knocking on the door demanding entry. Guess I better get ready for a night of death and rape threats. Sigh.”

For the record: I lightly tapped on her locked front door to see if Hawkins would like to come on camera to give her side of the story. I did not demand anything.

But another question arises: how is Hawkins paying the bills? Running a successful restaurant during the very best of times can be a Herculean challenge.

These days, one wonders how Foodbenders is actually making ends meet given the toxic publicity Hawkins continues to bring upon herself. Or is Foodbenders merely a front for some one, or some group that wants to spew a certain strain of toxic ideology?

Again, we’d love to discuss this issue with Hawkins, but alas, she doesn’t appear to be in the mood to grant interviews to “genocidal maniacs” these days.


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