Arab Professor Says Booted From Eatery Over Bartender's 'Racist' T-shirt

Ramzi Suleiman claims Haifa bartender was wearing a shirt advocating killing Palestinian children.

Yoav Stern
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Yoav Stern

An Arab psychology professor at the University of Haifa said Sunday he was booted out of a restaurant over the weekend after complaining that the bartender was wearing a shirt advocating killing Palestinian children.

Restaurant owner Khaled Hajaj, who is also Arab, said he did not kick out Professor Ramzi Suleiman, though he did tell him he didn't care if Suleiman took his money to a different restaurant.

"It hurts my feelings and the feelings of Arab customers," said Suleiman. "I'm not willing to accept such shirts. It's like the reaction of Jews who see people wearing shirts with a cross."

The bartender at the Haifa restaurant was wearing a shirt with a drawing of a rifle sight and the words, in Hebrew, "Institution for special-ed children."

Suleiman demanded the bartender change his shirt, saying it advocated killing Palestinian children - similar to T-shirts printed for Israel Defense Forces soldiers that depict violence against Palestinians, as Haaretz reported last month.

The IDF has condemned the T-shirts, which were ordered by troops and not by the army itself. The shirts include images including a child in rifle cross-hairs with the slogan, "The smaller they are, the harder it is." Another shows a pregnant woman in the cross-hairs and the words "1 Shot 2 Kills."

Suleiman and Hajaj argued over the bartender's shirt in front of about 20 other diners, some of whom left because of the disturbance.

Suleiman said Hajaj told him, "If you're Palestinian, go to Palestine."

Hajaj said he condemns "all killing of any kind."

"Arabs and Jews work in the restaurant, and it serves Jews and Arabs, whites and blacks, and has never closed the door in anyone's face," he said.

Hajaj said the bartender had never served in the army and was unaware of the message his shirt conveyed. As a result of the incident, the bartender is no longer working at the restaurant.