Every single thing about Manny’s sounds as San Francisco as you can imagine it being.
Emanuel “Manny” Yekutiel has always been busy before big elections. In 2012, he worked on Obama’s reelection campaign (and later interned at the White house), and in 2016 it was the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. But ahead of Tuesday’s midterm, he’s been occupied with something new: Opening Manny’s, a 3,000-square-foot cafe, bar, bookstore, and civic gathering space at 3092 16th Street. After more than a year of construction on the corner of Valencia (in the former V16 Sushi space), Manny’s will greet its first customer on November 6th.
That timing isn’t just fitting, but intentional: Yekutiel envisions Manny’s as just the kind of place you’d want to watch election results roll in. It’s “a new physical place to go to become a better informed and more involved citizen,” he says.
It’s run by a Leftist who wanted to create a cafe for Leftist political engagement, is farm-to-table and helps thee homeless.
Nearby bookstore Dog Eared books will provide Manny’s with political reading material, stocking floor-to-ceiling shelves in a central bookstore space. Food offerings will be implicitly political, too, according to Kevin Madrigal, co-founder and culinary director of Farming Hope. His nonprofit — which provides transitional work in its gardens and training in the culinary industry to people experiencing homelessness and poverty — will handle the menu at Manny’s.
“When people buy something here, they’ll be supporting what we do [at Farming Hope], whether knowingly or unknowingly,” Madrigal says.
But if you know anything about San Francisco, Manny’s is having problems.
Because Manny is Jewish and supports Israel because his family fled to Israel from Afghanistan. His family was one of nearly a million Jews who were expelled from Muslim countries after the foundation of Israel.
Also, being a Jew, he must be rich and white (even though he’s ethnically Central Asian) and therefore he is gentrifying the neighborhood.
A Middle Eastern eatery that opened in November with a promise to offer space for political activism and civic discourse has become the focus of intense debate and weekly protests over Palestinian oppression and gentrification in the Mission District.
Manny’s, a cafe and restaurant that operates out of an affordable housing development at 3092 Valencia St., has hosted talks led by the likes of Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, state Sen. Scott Wiener and Mayor London Breed. A roster of monthly events includes urban sustainability, the LGBT Rights movement, and the Queer Latinx history of the Mission’s 16th Street corridor.
No matter how Left you are as a Jew, they will find a reason to hate you.
But in recent weeks, the sidewalk outside of the two-month old establishment has attracted a different kind of civic gathering in the form of a weekly protests.
Since December, a self-described group of “black and brown folks, radical jews…trans and queer people” and low-income Mission District residents “committed to collective liberation,” have been calling for a boycott of Yekutiel’s social justice-themed business. The protesters, who include members of the Lucy Parsons Project, the Black and Brown Social Club, Gay Shame and the Brown Berets, describe Manny’s as a cover for a pro-elite, pro-Zionist and pro-gentrification agenda.
In particular, advocates have pointed to social media posts published in recent years by Yekutiel –who described himself as a “Liberal American Jew” — inquiring about Zionist groups in the Bay Area and commemorating the anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.
“He’s a proud Zionist and supports what’s happening to the people in Palestine. He’s disguising it by having certain speakers and artists come through and take pictures with him,” community advocate Ilyich Sato, a Bay Area rapper who goes by the stage name Equipto, told the San Francisco Examiner.
In an email to the Examiner, Yekutiel, who said his father fled to Israel to escape persecution, described his feelings about the country as “complicated.”
“Oh my God, a Jew supports the nation that give his family refuge, he must be destroyed.” – The Left
It’s hosted incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, activists with Black Lives Matter — and on the sidewalk outside, protesters upset because Yekutiel is a “Zionist gentrifer.”
“Zionists out of the Mission!” one marcher yelled on Wednesday, Dec. 26, as about 20 members of the Lucy Parsons Project and allied groups gathered outside Manny’s.
Such tolerant people. If you want to dance in the nude, smoking a joint, white riding on a float that looks like a giant penis in front of an elementary school, that’s totally fine, as long as you don’t support Israel while you do it.
The self-described “radical black queer direction action group,” named for an early 20th century Latina anarcho-communist labor organizer, has protested at Manny’s every Wednesday this month, and says it will continue protesting every Wednesday until Manny’s is “shut down.” The Project only has about 300 Twitter followers, but among the protest’s supporters is a local rapper, Equipto, with 14,500 followers.
This reporter tweeted at the Lucy Parsons Project on Thursday asking for an interview and was promptly blocked. (The group tweeted on Dec. 21, “We Proudly Block all Zionists.”)
There is nothing like the Jew hatred of the radical Communist. It’s every bit as vicious as Nazi anti-semitism, but the Left will do somersaults to defend it.
It really is a simple lesson, Jews should never go Leftist. No matter how Left you think you are, there are others on the Left that will hate you for being a Jew.
I don’t know how to teach this lesson to more Jews, but at 2019 looks to be an even worse version of 2018, it is one that every Jew needs to understand. The Left is not a safe place for the Jews.