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Conflict Kitchen closes after receving death threat

Conflict Kitchen, located in Schenley Plaza, closed last week after receiving a letter containing death threats. (credit: Yeongwoo Hwang/) Conflict Kitchen, located in Schenley Plaza, closed last week after receiving a letter containing death threats. (credit: Yeongwoo Hwang/)

Conflict Kitchen, a restaurant in Oakland that serves food from nations with which the U.S. is in conflict, announced last Friday that it is closed until further notice after receiving a letter containing death threats.

“We have received a letter today containing death threats and we will be closed until the credibility of the letter can be established by the Pittsburgh police. We hope to reopen shortly,” the restaurant posted to its Facebook page.

Conflict Kitchen, located in Schenley Plaza, stirred up controversy when the restaurant began serving Palestinian food last month. The restaurant has been criticized by pro-Israel groups in Pittsburgh — including Carnegie Mellon's Tartans 4 Israel — for what some claim is an anti-Israel bias. Much of the criticism has been directed toward pamphlets handed out with the restaurant’s food, which are filled with interviews from Palestinians living both in the U.S. and in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Like we have done for four years with every other country of focus, our food wrappers contain the viewpoints of multiple people within our focus country on a wide variety of topics,” Conflict Kitchen posted on its website in response to coverage by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The interviews were done by us personally with Palestinians in Palestine, and in our own city. The thoughts and opinions that come through the interviews are informed by their personal context, experiences and histories as Palestinians.”

The Heinz Endowment disavowed a $50,000 grant, given to Conflict Kitchen in April 2013, after urging from B’nai B’rith International, an organization dedicated to promoting the international Jewish community and human rights, according to its website.

The creators of Conflict Kitchen, Professor of Art Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski (CFA ’10), could not be reached for comment.