UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Pizza restaurant slammed for declaring “Zionists not welcome”

A pizza restaurant has declared in a social media post: “Zionists not welcome”.

Ecco pizzeria, which is based in the Headingley neighbourhood of Leeds, also promoted on its Instagram account an “Anti-Zionism Pizza”. 

The restaurant is owned by Mohammed El-Abd, an Egyptian who was trained in Italy as a pizza chef, according to the Ecco Pizzeria website.

Another post from Ecco’s account equated the Israeli government to the Nazis and railed against the “demonic psychopathic Zionist movement”. 

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has written to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to report the pizzeria which we believe is discriminating against Zionists, Jews and Israelis in breach of section 29 of the Equality Act 2010. 

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI, said: “It is horrific that something as innocuous as a pizza can be turned into a weapon against Zionists, many of whom are Jews and Israelis. Apart from breaching discrimination laws, Ecco Pizza has also compared Israelis to Nazis, which is a breach of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 

 “Although Ecco Pizza has now removed the most egregious of its posts , it remains defiantly unapologetic and continues to advertise anti-Zionist pizza. It also continues to accuse Israelis of genocide, which is an inversion of the truth, following the cold blooded massacre of Israelis by Hamas terrorists on 7 October 2023.

 “We hope that the EHRC will act against this shop which is certainly encouraging hate and divisiveness amongst the local and wider community.” 

UKLFI’s letter to the EHRC, points out that Section 29(1) of the Equalities Act states that “a person (a “service-provider”) concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service”. 

UKLFI also points out that Ecco pizzeria’s statement that “the Israeli govt are no different from the Nazis” contravenes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which is adopted by the British government. 

The IHRA definition says that “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of anti-Semitism.