Reems, the bakery where decrepit terrorist Rasmea Odeh stares down at you from a wall, has enjoyed its fair share of good publicity, thanks to the likes of Diablo Magazine, Fusion, and Real Food Real Stories.
Now you can add one of the “big boys” to that list – the New York Times (hat tip: Algemeiner).
And you know immediately you are going to get a puff (pastry) piece with the title: An Arab Bakery in Oakland Full of California Love (although I guess I had you at New York Times).
Before she embarked on a baking career, Reem Assil grew up in a Palestinian-Syrian household and spent a decade as a community organizer. Both of these things are evident at Reem’s California, the bright, bustling Arab bakery Ms. Assil opened in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood in May.
Reem’s is one of a handful of Arab bakeries in the Bay Area — but it is likely the only one where you’ll find the children’s book “A Is for Activist” on the shelves and an enormous mural of the controversial Palestinian activist Rasmeah Odeh on the wall. Affixed to Ms. Odeh’s kaffiyeh is a button of Oscar Grant III, the young black man killed in 2009 by transit police at the Fruitvale BART station, which looms just across the street. (The story inspired the acclaimed film “Fruitville Station.”)
And the victims are not Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe – who perished in Odeh’s terrorist act – but rather Reems owner Reem Assil, who is painted as just a gal wanting social justice for all, yet who has been unfairly attacked, an experience that left her “scared.”
But while social justice “has always been a core component of Reem’s,” Ms. Assil said, her business was inspired by the bakeries she visited during a trip to the Middle East several years ago. “Even though there was political turmoil outside, you never would feel it inside,” she said. “In Oakland, I felt we didn’t have enough of those places where people could feel alive and safe and connected.”
While Ms. Assil’s food has drawn plenty of praise, the bakery’s mural has invited criticism: in late June, an online op-ed charged that Ms. Odeh’s portrayal glorified terrorism, and the bakery’s Yelp page was besieged by a slew of one-star reviews. “It was really scary,” Ms. Assil said of the experience, but added that it won her new allies. “I’m feeling really blessed by the following we’ve built,” she said. “It’s really a testament to when you build community, your customers support you.”
I would imagine as a Jew or even anyone with a sense of morality, walking into a bakery to find a convicted terrorist murderer staring down at me from the wall would be the scary thing. But then again, I am not the New York Times.
The piece spends a great deal of time describing Reem’s food, which Assil herself calls “Arab street food made with California love.” The author, having just spoken about the mural, exclaims “And there’s much to love here.”
Naturally, the piece ends with Reems’ details, because this is promoting Reems after all.
Also naturally: the author of this revolting piece, Rebecca Flint Marx, is Jewish. I say naturally, because we tend to be our own worst enemies. Or at least many of those who consider themselves “liberal.”
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