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AIPAC Member Sanctions D.C. Waitress

Wearing a Code Pink shirt will only get you 10%

Adam Chandler
March 06, 2013
Busboys and Poets.(Flickr)
Busboys and Poets.(Flickr)

It may not have been a plenary session topic, but combatting the delegitimization of Israel has long been a hobbyhorse of those who attended the AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week.

Apparently, the battle spilled over from the conference center floor into the surrounding areas, including the local institution Busboys & Poets. From the DCist:

After picking up a customer’s check, Nuria Kalifa opened the billfold to find a 10 percent gratuity instead of the usual 15 percent, accompanied by a note reading that the short shrift was because of her T-shirt decrying Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Kalifa-Jackson had been wearing a black shirt branded with the phrase “Occupation isn’t pretty,” a reference to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza.

Clearly, the shirt did not sit well on the customer, who wrote, “Displaying your political beliefs on your shirt cost you a % of your tip.” The customer also left a brochure obtained from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which yesterday held its annual policy conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Another group of diners also reportedly complained about the server’s shirt to the manager, who defended his employee’s right to wear political clothing–a practice encouraged by the left-leaning haunt.

I spoke to Joseph Saka, who attended the AIPAC Conference and lives two blocks away from the restaurant, and asked him his thoughts about the controversy.

“I won’t be returning to Busboys & Poets, mostly because the food is crap, but also because I don’t like their politics.”

Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t stiff her entirely.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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