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Leftist DC coffee shop attacks pro-Israel customer, Al Jazeera jumps on board

Leftist DC coffee shop attacks pro-Israel customer, Al Jazeera jumps on board

Progressive and proud DC coffee shop Busboys and Poets, housed in a modern McDevelopment on the city’s NW side, turns out to be pretty thin-skinned when its customers balk at their politics.

Server Nuria Kalifa-Jackson, wearing an anti-Israel shirt produced by CodePink, received a 10% tip instead of a 15%, which her customer informed her of on the bill, citing the t-shirt as the reason. The shirt the customer objected to reads: “Occupation Isn’t Pretty” and “Don’t Buy Ahava.”

The customer, who also left behind a brochure for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Their note to the server read:

Displaying your political beliefs on your shirt cost you a % of your tip.

Busboys & Poets posted a picture of the customer’s note on their facebook wall, attacking them:


Then Al Jazeera picked up on the story, writing that “AIPAC supporters undertip waitress for her anti-occupation t-shirt.”

Ahava is an Israeli skincare company, and the shirt advocates a sort of protest-capitalism wherein those who agree with the message refrain from buying their product.

Busboys & Poets — and Al Jazeera, are objecting to a customer’s decision to refrain from giving the full discretionary tip they might have.


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David Yotham | March 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Should have tipped the waitress $.02 and left a sample of Ahava on the table.

She’s lucky, my tip would have been zero. I don’t tip anti-Semites or racists. I also don’t give repeat business to places that insult me or my friends.
I’m guessing that Busboys and Poets is one of those over-priced pretentious shops that’s trying to imitate a genuine coffee-shop.

Occupation is apparently a relative term. The Muslims and Arabs should leave first. Or perhaps they claim the right to occupy the land through conquest. In that case, the original Jewish settlers were defrauded in their original contract. They should not have negotiated in good faith. They should have wielded the sword. They should have followed the precedent that other people universally follow… when they are either capable of exerting democratic or coercive leverage.

Is there a statute of limitation which governs occupation through conquest? It may have selective application in the Middle East. It does not, however, apply in Africa, Asia, Europe, and other places were Muslims and Arabs still occupy conquered territories. Where they murder, rape, and enslave native people in order to maintain dominion over the land and resources.

BannedbytheGuardian | March 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Sometimes I don’t think they think these boycott messages through. I immediately looked up Ahava .

If they said Dead Sea Salts most women would recognise it as a brand they would like to buy but it is a little expensive. Also the sales people in the malls are somewhat aggressive .Nobody wants to be told their skin is lousy by a young man.

The Internet site is much better.

So gentlemen , get on & buy your wife / girlfriend a nice surprise. $ 60 gets you a little duo or splurge 80 for a kit. Umm boyfriend too in the name of equality.

    Aggressive with fake accents.

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | March 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    My revenge on overly aggressive hawkers… take up their time and then not buy anything. Seriously, I really don’t want to be accosted in the mall by anyone, especially someone critical of my hair, skin and nails. I can manage being overly critical of myself, thank you very much.

    By the way, Ahava is over rated and over priced. You can buy 10 lbs. of dead sea clay/silt for about $5, mix it with water from the tap, and have mud masks for the next 5 years.

Aww gee. The sympathizer could have received a tip of 25 or so lashings. Busboys and Poets a car bombing and Al (Gore) and Jazeera, just toilet tissue, IF that is used in them thar parts..

forget the second and

I have no problem with this story or the behavior on either side. The server has a 1st amendment right to protest Israel (which is probably from a position of ignorance, considering Israel supports more human rights than do many of it’s neighbors: *cough* *cough* Syria. *cough* *cough* Egypt. etc…)

The tip was discretionary, and the customer gave her reasons for tipping 10% instead of 15%. I’m actually surprised the customer left any tip at all, but that’s their right as a customer.

Where this all goes wrong is that somehow the server thinks they are ENTITLED to a tip. If the service was bad (and for that customer, it was, given the offensive pollitical nature of the T-shirt; Politics should stay out of the customer service business environment, I believe.) then the docking of a customeary tip is appropriate. The business needs to figure out what their policy on serving customers is, and keep their politics in the back office.

    Paul in reply to Paul. | March 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Update: I’m gonna visit the busboys and poets website, and leave a strongly worded letter to them to such effect. Maybe they’ll figure out the DIFFERENCE between running a business, and protesting.

      Paul in reply to Paul. | March 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Update #2: They are only on facebook, and since I’ve mothballed that account, I guess I’ll just have to voice my opinion, by not utilizing their services.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Paul. | March 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Worse yet, going by the name, the server is likely black. That means she should be protesting not Israel but Muslims. They were the ones who began the slave trade to the West in Africa.

I’m really impressed by Nuria Kalifa-Jackson’s brave display of her convictions…6,382 miles away from Gaza where wearing a skimpy, short sleeve top in public will get you a visit from Hamas for violating Islamic dress code.

Juba Doobai! | March 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I wouldn’t have given her a tip at all. People in customer service jobs need to leave their politics at home. In fact, if I’d been the customer, I would’ve walked out without ordering and told them why.

BannedbytheGuardian | March 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm

There are inherent problems in this Israel boycott .

I have done some reading about this in Australia . Besides the complication of the case FOR being argued by those with Jewish names it is not going well.

12 months ago -a website was launched that asked for the endorsement of 240 people. When this number was reached they would release the signatories. Um – obviously even after Prisoner X may have excited feelings – 240 has not been reached. This outfit tried to pressure an arts festival to ban an Israeli band of central Asian heritage dancers ! Fail.

Recently a NZ pension company divested in Elbit Industries . They have unresolved passport/ spy issues with Israel. Israel needs to address these issues .

Reading the Israeli times I see that Elbet won a $300 million project for landing craft communications for the Australian Navy in October 2012. Australia & South America are seen as the best markets to replace declining Israeli & US budgets. No doubt there were some interesting email exchanges back to Israel recently. Elbit sees a big future here.

Even in universities it might be some affiliated unit – eg Sydney University Peace Studies Centre that is pro boycott but these are not the actual university which has strongly rejected the idea.

That is as much as I can tell. As we don’t tip I think I would cancel the whole transaction & like Juba tell them why.

BannedbytheGuardian | March 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

On the other hand , Israel really does need to think about their increasing isolation.

Unfortunately I think Netanyahu is not the man for the moment. A more lateral thinking mind is needed.

    A ‘lateral’ leader in Israel at this point in history will do for his country what a ‘lateral’ leader did for Britain in 1939.

    With all due respect, Banned, the time for “lateral thinking” has long since passed. What with Iran and North Korea racing each other to see who will get nukes first between them, and Eqypt beginning to renege on it’s obligations for the 1979 peace treaty, “lateral” thinking might get one’s nation exterminated. God has a funny way of putting the right people in power at the right time. Just look at Obama, without his blatant disregard for our rights, we might all be sleeping whilst the thieves stole our rights in the night. Instead, we’re awake, and arming ourselves for battle in the rhetorical (and perhaps literal?) sense. Netanyahu is the right man for the right time, in my opinion. History will be the final judge.

Two minutes ago I didn’t know what Ahava was. Now I’ll buy some.

Someone said it was an issue of freedom of speech (although this refers to government action), but there is also a freedom to tip, or not! Good for the customer!

    That was exactly my point. The whole problem as I see it is not the protest or the reduction in tip, but that the server felt ENTITLED to the full tip. It is the entitlement mentality which is the cause for concern.

      Nothing to do with the First Amendment, actually. The patron is not the government.

        I’m not talking about the Patron’s right to protest, I’m talking about the Server’s right to wear whatever T-shirt her employer allows her to wear (Thus, ultimately, it is the employers: Busboy’s and Poet’s 1st amendment right that is being exercised here.) The employers encouraged the Anti-occupation political protest T-shirt. However, they found that one of their employees got a reduced tip due to the T-shirt. The patron has a right as well, That is the right of association:

        “Although it is not explicitly protected in the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled, in NAACP v. Alabama,[US 449] freedom of association to be a fundamental right protected by it. In Roberts v. United States Jaycees,[US 609] the Supreme Court held that associations may not exclude people for reasons unrelated to the group’s expression. However, in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995), the Court ruled that a group may exclude people from membership if their presence would affect the group’s ability to advocate a particular point of view. Likewise, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale,[US 640] the Supreme Court ruled that a New Jersey law, which forced the Boy Scouts of America to admit an openly gay member, to be an unconstitutional abridgment of the Boy Scouts’ right to free association.” This according to the current entry from Wikipedia (which I referenced, only to get the US docket #’s 449, 609, and 640.)

        Therefore it is a first amendment issue. The right to associate or dissociate freely.

From what, America? We are suffering the same isolation.

Henry Hawkins | March 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm

If a server wears a tee shirt that says Blonde People Suck that server ought not be surprised, nor have any complaint, if tips from blonde people decline.

I wonder if the server has ever heard “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” played on the worlds smallest fiddle.

I’m not sure that I understand the problem. The customer exercised his rights in protest of the offensive message, and the business then exercised its right to give the customer’s message some publicity.

    Paul in reply to janitor. | March 9, 2013 at 4:28 am

    The problem, as I see it, is that the server felt ENTITLED to a full tip, which is why she is making such a fuss about it. Al Jazeera is merely piling on, and acting like a hyena to make an issue out of it for it’s own agenda (Which I disagree with).

Everyone has forgotten ‘Al Jazeera’ Gore’s role in facilitating Al Jazeera’s hate into the US.

This is just the beginning.

There’s got to be another coffee shop nearby. Why patronize that one in the first place.

I probably would have left any establishment which allowed a server to wear such an message on duty.

No, I wouldn’t walk out if the server wore a Reagan tee shirt instead.

But I’m spending MY money, so that’s my decision.

As we know, the ugly face of racism, hatred and bigotry cannot be hidden with a Tee shirt or by being made popular.

Where’s the SPLC? Is this person on their hate watch list? Or is this girl the poster girl for “justifiable hate”?

Busboys and Poets? Is there some hidden connection? Are all busboys secretly poets? Are all poets secretly busboys?
In the words of the distinguished and [fortunately] former SecState H. R. Clinton, “What does it matter?”
The waitress busboy, poet or whatever she was wore a tee shirt that was offensive to a customer and the customer exercised his right to disagree.
Case dismissed. Next case.

we should boycott jordan until they fix this palestine issue.

    n.n in reply to dmacleo. | March 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I agree and disagree. The Palestinians were forcefully ejected from Jordan following a failed coup. I would consider an act of treason to be sufficient cause for their immediate deportation. It’s just unfortunate that the problem was left unaddressed and rather shifted into another backyard.

David Gerstman | March 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I first saw this a few days ago on Twitter.
So she wore a Code Pink t-shirt when she knew that AIPAC was in town. My one question is why anyone from AIPAC would patronize such an establishment. Still if she chose to wear her politics on her sleeve, she should have the guts to pay the price for it.