Philly food festival canceled after outrage over disinvited Israeli-owned vendor

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A food festival in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood was canceled Sunday after controversy erupted over the inclusion of an Israeli-owned food service.

The "Taste of Home" festival was supposed to be hosted by event partner Eat Up the Borders and nonprofit Sunflower Philly at North 5th Street.

The restaurant Moshava was supposed to take part in the event, but after word came of planned protests and threats of violence, Moshava was disinvited.

That decision resulted in a backlash, and that's when the organizers decided to pull the plug.

"Our mistake this time, with not only our event partners, but in general was not educating ourselves. And not properly making sure that everyone is properly represented. So that's where we made the decision to cancel the event," said Melvin Powell, the executive director of Sunflower Philly.

Organizers say they have received backlash regarding other events as well, including LGBTQ events.

According to its website, Sunflower Philly is a community-based, nonprofit organization focused on providing access to art, music & sustainable resources through a curated series of events and programs in North Philadelphia.

Powell says conversations will now take place about inclusiveness in community spaces.

Moshava said in a statement Sunday, "Although we were disappointed with how the situation was greatly mishandled we do not believe the organizers intention came from an antisemitic place but the threats they were receiving to their event were. Our shared goal for the future is to steer away from (violence) and hatred and be able to share a platform with all members of our community and collectively share our cultures."

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