Salt Lake City Bar Weathered Waves Under Fire for ‘No Zionists Allowed’ Policy

A newly opened bar in Salt Lake City is under scrutiny by state officials after announcing on social media that it would implement a “no Zionists allowed” policy.

“As many are, we are horrified by the ongoing genocide in Gaza and are even more horrified to see so many Americans ignore and rationalize ethnic cleansing. That is why we are pleased to announce we are banning all zionists forever from our establishments,” the Weathered Waves bar posted on Instagram.

“Zionism is hate speech. It is white supremacy and has nothing to do with the beautiful Jewish faith,” the bar said. Its owner, former mayoral candidate Michael Valentine, responded to backlash by stressing that “we are banning zionists, not Jews.”

But many accused the bar of thinly veiled antisemitism, arguing that the term “Zionist” could be used against any Jewish person who supports their homeland. Amid growing outrage this week, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services, which had just given the bar its license on Feb. 29, turned to the state Attorney General’s Office requesting “an investigation on whether the business is violating discrimination laws,” the department said in a statement Wednesday.

It said the department is also reviewing its own “legal options for responding to discrimination at DABS licensed establishments.”

The bar has reported at least one threat of arson and “review bombing” amid the controversy, though Valentine has said he has no intention of backing down.

In comments to The Salt Lake Tribune, he said: “It is not antisemitic to say we are anti-genocide. That’s what we’re saying… I literally say in the post I’m not banning Jews. This is not about that.”

+ There are no comments

Add yours