Gov. Shapiro calls out protest at Goldie; says UPenn president's testimony was 'shameful'

Maggie Kent Image
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Gov. Shapiro says UPenn president's testimony was 'shameful'
Gov. Shapiro says UPenn president's testimony was 'shameful'

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro came to Goldie on Wednesday to show their support for Michael Solomonov and the staff at the restaurant.

On Sunday night, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the Jewish and Israeli-owned restaurant chanting that it was in support of genocide.

The protest organizers say they targeted the shop because of Solomonov's fundraising for Israeli EMS teams, which they say supports the IDF.

Shapiro says that is a complete distraction.

Soon after the protest, Shapiro took to social media to denounce the demonstration outside Goldie, and Wednesday he reiterated those comments.

"People have a right to peacefully protest a difference of policy in the Middle East or Israel. But they don't have a right to come and protest a restaurant simply because it's owned by a Jew and hold that Jew responsible for Israeli policy. That's the definition of antisemitism," said Shapiro.

Customers flocked to the shop for lunch Wednesday to specifically show their backing.

"When you are threatened, you have to come together. So, there's camaraderie of that sort," said Pete Veytsman of Mullica Hill.

As a petition calling for University of Pennsylvania's President Liz Magill's resignation grows online, Shapiro raised concerns about her testimony in front of Congress on Tuesday.

"Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide," he said.

Magill has been under fire for the climate on campus, and not doing enough to protect students.

Shapiro says the university's board needs to evaluate if Magill represents their values.

"I think they need to meet soon to make that determination," he said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a petition calling for Magill's resignation garnered more than 2,500 signatures.

In response to this, Magill posted the following message to Facebook on Wednesday night:

"There was a moment during yesterday's congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our University's long standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable. I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It's evil, plain and simple.

I want to be clear. A call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening - deeply so. It is intentionally meant to terrify a people who have been subjected to pogroms and hatred for centuries and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust. In my view, it would be harassment or intimidation.

For decades under multiple Penn presidents and consistent with most universities, Penn's policies have been guided by the Constitution and the law. In today's world, where we are seeing signs of hate proliferating across our campus, in our world in a way not seen in years, these policies need to be clarified and evaluated. Penn must initiate a serious and careful look at our policies, and Provost Jackson and I will immediately convene a process to do so.

As President, I'm committed to a safe, secure and supportive environment so all members of our community can thrive.

We can, and we will, get this right."