June 06, 2019 12:38 PM
The sign is up, and in just about two weeks, the doors to Cheers will open.
It's a new LGBTQ bar in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis. But many are already saying they won't set foot inside.
After seeing a GoFundMe fundraising page (which has now been shut down) asking for more than a million dollars to buy the building, potential patrons started digging into things, finding past anti-Semitic Facebook posts from an individual who appears to be the bar's owner.
At one point, an account appearing to belong to owner Emad Yousef Abed posted, "This community is a joke. We don't want their business or support."
Abed did not want to be interviewed on camera, but did talk with KSTP via telephone, saying he "has no idea" where the past Facebook posts came from, adding that perhaps someone "made them up" or "hacked" his account.
Chad Kampe runs a LGBTQ event business, putting on shows in Minneapolis bars and clubs. He is also Jewish.
"I think now more than ever we are seeing anti-Semitic behavior and it's quite frightening," Kampe said.
"Having relatives in the Holocaust it was very triggering and hard to see this rhetoric being brought up in 2019."
The Facebook page for the bar no longer exists.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who is also Jewish, had this to say about the controversy:
"We're not immune from bad rhetoric in Minneapolis," he said. "But when we hear it, we've got to approach it head-on and say these are the not the values we have. This is not what the belief of pride stands for."
Abed, however, says he is not an anti-Semite, and that "everyone is welcome" in his bar.
But a protest is already planned for the day the bar is set to open.
Isaiah Kirshner-Breen, the communications director for Jewish Community Action, shared a statement:
"Obviously we're disturbed by Mr. Abed's comments," it read. "And we're familiar with this kind of rhetoric. It's the same language - conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world; Jews being responsible for all the world's ills - white nationalists use every day.
"'Disagreements with Israel'" isn't the same thing as anti-Semitism - and referring to a Jewish cabal that controls the world, or saying that Hitler should have finished the job isn't 'reporting the facts.'"
There is an event scheduled for First Avenue on June 13 to raise awareness and support for the Jewish community. All proceeds will go to Jewish Community Action.
Updated: June 06, 2019 12:38 PM
Created: June 05, 2019 05:41 PM
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