The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is established on several illegally occupied Palestinian villages, whose indigenous population were forcibly displaced in 1948.
Turkish internet sensation Salt Bae has announced plans to open a branch of his restaurant Nusr-Et in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, triggering calls for a reversal of his project by a global pro-Palestine boycott movement.
The chef, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, pointed to the city in a list on Instagram that details upcoming openings in the future plans of Nusr-Et, including Paris, Ibiza, Madrid, Milano, and Cairo.
The highly popular Nusr-Et already has several branches around the world, including one in Qatar.
Speaking to Doha News, Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights defender, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said the move risks calls for boycotting Salt Bae from Doha to New York.
“The reported plan to open a Nusr-Et restaurant branch in apartheid Tel Aviv, particularly under the current unmasked fascist and Islamophobic Israeli government, would drastically tarnish the reputation of the famous Turkish chef,” Barghouti said.
The global BDS movement has long called for nations, entities, companies and individuals around the world to shun Israel to apply pressure on the state.
Launched in 2005, BDS was inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and has since focused on raising global attention towards ongoing crimes committed by the Israeli regime against the indigenous Palestinian population.
“We call on Nusret Gokce to follow the lead of thousands of international musicians, filmmakers, city councils, sports teams, among others, that refuse to have any relations with Tel Aviv in response to the Palestinian BDS Call,” Barghouti said.
The announcement confirms Israeli reports from last year that said Gokce was in talks with Tel Aviv businessman Zvi Williger, chairman of Willi-Food, in Turkey to open the restaurant in Tel Aviv.
In 2018, Gokce sparked outrage after announcing plans to establish a burger chain with cheaper menu options alongside his Israeli-born business partner, Rotem Rosen.
Israel, widely slammed as an “apartheid state” by rights groups, has been occupying Palestine for more than five decades, carrying out flagrant rights abuses against native Palestinians.
Businesses that open up shop in Tel Aviv regularly face backlash from pro-Palestine supporters around the world.
‘Ethnically cleansed land’
The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is established on several illegally occupied Palestinian villages, whose indigenous population were forcibly displaced in 1948 to make way for Jewish settlers from Europe.
Tel Aviv was a small area in the seaside city of Yaffa, which has been occupied since the mass exodus of Palestinians during the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe.
“Far from being an ordinary–let alone glamorous–city, Tel Aviv is a city that sits on top of ethnically cleansed Palestinian land. It is the core of Israel’s 74-year-old brutal regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid against the Indigenous Palestinians,” Barghouti said.
Between 1947 to 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinian from a 1.9 million native population were forced out of their own land by Zionists militias that later established Israel.
At least 450 towns and villages were depopulated.
There are up to 5.6 million Palestinian refugees, with at least 28.4% scattered in 58 UNRWA-run camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to murder and arrest Palestinians, including minors. According to Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Addameer, there are 835 administrative detainees and at least 150 child prisoners.
The forced dispossession of Palestinians has also continued, with Israel forcing the native population to either demolish their own homes or face physical attacks.
The new Israeli government has also vowed to lead further settlement expansions, a move that Qatar has condemned.