The head of Heinz Endowments, a foundation chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz, wrote a letter to a Jewish organization that criticized the anti-Israel activity of one of the foundation’s recently revealed grant recipients.
In an Oct. 31 statement on the correspondence, B’nai B’rith International called on Heinz Endowments to go further by issuing a “public disavowal” of its $50,000 grant to Pittsburgh-based snack bar Conflict Kitchen, which sells sandwiches wrapped in paper bearing anti-Israel slogans. B’nai B’rith leaders had contacted Heinz to express concern over the grant.
In a letter responding to B’nai B’rith, Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant attempted to disassociate the foundation from the anti-Israel messages promoted by Conflict Kitchen.
“I want to be especially clear that [Conflict Kitchen’s] current program on Palestine was not funded by the endowments and we would not fund such a program, precisely because it appears to be terribly at odds with the mission of promoting understanding. … [Heinz Endowments] emphatically does not agree with or support either the anti-Israel sentiments quoted on Conflict Kitchen’s food wrappers or the program’s refusal to incorporate Israeli or Jewish voices in its material,” Oliphant wrote.
Conflict Kitchen, located near Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, says it aims to use its menu to teach students about conflict between the U.S. and the countries it features in its cuisine selection. The information spread via the anti-Israel food wrappers includes quotes defending terrorism against Israel. One wrapper reads, “How can you compare Israeli F-16s, which are some of the best military planes in the world, to a few hundred homemade rockets?”