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Utah investigating former mayor candidate for ‘No Zionists’ bar sign

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage " takes allegations of discrimination seriously," it stated.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Menachem Wecker.
Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Menachem Wecker.

Devout Mormons in Salt Lake City do not drink alcohol. A failed mayoral candidate in the city is under investigation for trying to prevent Israel supporters from doing the same at his bar.

“No Nazis. No racists. No Zionists,” Weathered Waves, A Six Sailor Cider Bar posted on Instagram. “We are pleased to announce we are banning all Zionists forever from our establishments.”

The bar, which recently applied for a liquor license and which is owned by Michael Valentine, a former candidate for Salt Lake City mayor, added in the post that “Zionism is hate speech” and “white supremacy,” and “has nothing to do with the beautiful Jewish faith.”

The bar is located some 275 miles from Zion National Park, in the southwest corner of Utah, which reflects the centrality of “Zion” in the Mormon faith. Zion appears repeatedly in Jewish scripture.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services stated on Wednesday that it had received “several” complaints about the bar’s statements and that it notified the Utah attorney general’s office, “so they may conduct an investigation on whether the business is violating discrimination laws,” KSL TV reported.

“The department is reviewing its statutory obligations and legal options for responding to discrimination at DABS-licensed establishments,” it added. “The department takes allegations of discrimination seriously.”

 Rabbi Avremi Zippel, a Chabad rabbi in Utah, told the station, “I think it is a smoke screen for open Jew-hatred. I think it is antisemitic.”

The rabbi, who runs a kosher food truck, invited people—especially Zioniststo sample its wares. “Trust me, you’d rather have some of our Shayetet 13 Shawarma, than some sexual-assault sympathizing seltzer,” he wrote.

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