LOCAL NEWS

Utah agency calls for investigation into Salt Lake bar’s ‘No Zionists Allowed’ policy

Mar 6, 2024, 10:46 PM | Updated: 11:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services called for an attorney general’s investigation Wednesday over a bar’s “No Zionists Allowed” policy.

Early in the week, Weathered Waves, A Six Sailor Cider Bar, posted the stance that equated Zionism to hate speech.

“We are horrified by the ongoing genocide in Gaza and are even more horrified to see so many Americans ignore and rationalize ethnic cleansing,” a statement posted to Instagram read. “That is why we are pleased to announce we are banning all Zionists forever from our establishments. Zionism is hate speech, it is white supremacy and has nothing to do with the beautiful Jewish faith. We forever stand firmly with the people of Gaza and humanity.”

Owner Michael Valentine said in an interview with KSL TV that he stood by his business’s new policy.

“I think it’s, again, something we’d be happy to stand on the right side of history for,” Valentine said. “It’s important that this remains an inclusive space by banning all hate speech.”

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services called on the Attorney General to investigate a local bar, Weathered Waves, A Six Sailor Cider Bar, after it posted a “No Zionists Allowed” policy. (KSL TV)

On Wednesday afternoon, the Utah DABS issued its own statement calling for an investigation of the matter.

“We have received several comments from members of the public with concerns regarding the business’ public statements,” the statement read. “Today, the department notified the Utah Attorney General’s Office so they may conduct an investigation on whether the business is violating discrimination laws. At the same time, the department is reviewing its statutory obligations and legal options for responding to discrimination at DABS licensed establishments. Again, the department takes allegations of discrimination seriously.”

The bar’s rule also has drawn criticism from members of Salt Lake City’s Jewish community, including from Rabbi Avremi Zippel of the Chabad Lubavitch.

“I think it is a smoke screen for open Jew hatred, I think it is antisemitic,” Zippel told KSL TV. “To say that anybody that possesses a political ideology need not even walk into the establishment — I think that’s a pretty significant jump from not tolerating hate speech.”

Zippel, whose synagogue operates the Yalla Kosher Utah food truck, said he didn’t understand the bar’s decision.

“We view food as a way to bring people together — not to divide them,” Zippel said.

Valentine said he had already received threats due to the rule, including to burn down his business, and the policy was not intended to discriminate against Jews.

“We’re not banning Jews — we love Jewish people,” Valentine said. He noted that some members of the Jewish community also hold anti-Zionist positions. “We’re not banning Jews, we’re banning Zionism. In the same way we’re not banning Christianity, we ban neo-Nazis and the KKK and hate speech.”

He also said the policy barred all hate speech.

“Not just Zionism, — we’re condemning neo-Nazis, white supremacists, transphobes, queerphobes, homophobes, sexists,” Valentine said.

Zippel disagreed. He said that did not appear to be the point of the business’s Instagram post announcing the move.

“I think we live in a world where most private businesses, certain government entities don’t tolerate hate speech,” Zippel said. “If you want to ban hate speech, go on your Instagram and put up a post that says ‘in our place of business, we will not tolerate hate speech.’ That’s not what the post says.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Curtis Bennett, executive director of One Kind Act a Day joins the show, discussing the foundation'...

KSL TV

Sunday Edition: Curtis Bennett and Jay Evensen

Curtis Bennett, executive director of One Kind Act a Day joins the show, discussing the foundation's recent summit on kindness. Later, Deseret News opinion editor Jay Evensen joins to discuss the impact of sports betting.

16 minutes ago

Payson High School kids attend prom at the school on Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Scott G. Winterton,...

Brianna Chavez

Payson High students celebrate prom with a ‘Footloose’ theme

Saturday morning was busy for many Payson High School students. Hundreds of teens helped build kits for actor Kevin Bacon's charity SixDegrees.

13 hours ago

Police say 13-year-old Aaliyah Rose Cabrera-Utai was last seen in Midvale on Friday afternoon aroun...

Mark Jones

Unified Police seeking the public’s help in locating missing teenager

The Unified Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing teenager.

14 hours ago

A Utah Highway Patrol emblem is pictured as shown on the side of a UHP vehicle. (Utah Highway Patro...

Mark Jones

One person dead in southern Utah car pursuit

The Utah Highway Patrol says one person died following a crash in a police pursuit Saturday in southern Utah.

16 hours ago

Remember the scene in "Footloose" when Ariel climbs out of her friends' moving car and tries to get...

Emma Benson

Everybody cut loose: Utah actress recalls experience filming ‘Footloose’

Remember the scene in "Footloose" when Ariel climbs out of her friends' moving car and tries to get into her boyfriend's truck? The driver – Ariel's friend, Edna – was played by then-19-year-old BYU acting student Kim Abunuwara.

18 hours ago

Actor Kevin Bacon made an appearance in Payson on Saturday morning as part of festivities leading u...

Lottie Elizabeth Johnson, Margaret Darby, Deseret News

‘You were all just tireless’: Kevin Bacon praises Payson High students as he returns to ‘Footloose’ roots

Getting Kevin Bacon to come to Payson, Utah, was no easy feat. Just about anyone who has spent the past year trying to get his attention will tell you that.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Utah agency calls for investigation into Salt Lake bar’s ‘No Zionists Allowed’ policy