Lebanese-American Delays Opening Burger Joint With Israeli Ties After Receiving Threats

Restaurant owner told 'you are not like us'

Israeli flag flies in Brazil Photo by Rebeca Figueiredo Amorim/Getty Images)

A Lebanese-American delayed the opening of a hamburger franchise with Israeli roots after receiving threats from anti-Israel activists.

Sam Zahir planned to open a franchise of the burger chain Burgerim in Dearborn, Mich., according to The Detroit Free Press. He made the decision to delay its opening indefinitely after receiving threats from people opposed to the burger restaurant's Israeli origins.

Burgerim, which combines the word "burger" with the Hebrew suffix "-im," meaning "many burgers," was founded in 2011 by an Israeli woman and opened its first location in Tel Aviv. It has hundreds of locations in the United States. Zahir is opening two other franchises in Michigan this month, which contributed to his cancelling the opening of the Dearborn location.

The decision to try to open a franchise in Dearborn has been a source of tension for months, the Free Press reports. Supporters and opponents of the opening argued on social media about boycotting the restaurant.

"I told you, you are not like us," one individual wrote to Zahir on Facebook. "You have Palestinian and Lebanese blood on your hand if you open up that joint."

A Dearborn-based activist and law professor wrote a blog post urging members of the Dearborn community to boycott the burger restaurant, saying that the franchise's success was "was performed on stolen Palestinian land."

"Burgerim’s franchises in Israel carry the history of Palestinian suffering and dispossession," the activist added in the post.

Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel called attention to the situation on Twitter.

"While members of Congress are publicly comparing the Jewish state to Nazi Germany, this is happening. In America. In 2019. Hope the Squad is proud of itself," he tweeted.

The Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement has made headlines this past week, as Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib (D.) compared it to the American boycott of Nazi Germany. Tlaib criticized a House of Representative's resolution that would affirm opposition to the movement, saying she did not want to see attacks on the right to "boycott the racist policies of the government and state of Israel."

Tlaib's fellow far-left freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) compared the BDS movement to the Boston Tea Party and pushed a pro-BDS resolution while opposition an aid bill for Israel.