Jewish Chicago-area deli owner apologizes for Nazi cartoon on High Holiday menu

High Holiday menu for Max's Deli restaurant in Chicago. (Facebook)

 

The Jewish owner of a kosher-style deli in suburban Chicago has come under fire for a cartoon of a Nazi on its High Holidays catering menu.

The menu was posted on the Max’s Deli Facebook page on August 23, but only began to gain attention on Thursday.

The doodled figure wears a military uniform, a Nazi swastika armband and a T-shirt that reads “I’m With Alt-Right.” The figure’s blonde hair is evocative of President Donald Trump.

A post accompanying the menu read: “It was never true, “Work Will Set You Free.” It was a lie, “Work Will Set You Free.” Do you think we believe the lie because we’re easily duped? Or because it’s easier to believe a sign than ask hard questions. And fight. Here’s a hard question: what do they really mean by Alt-Right? I’ll tell you what they really mean…Nazi.”

The post, which references the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, also reads: “It was never true, “Never Forget.” It was a lie, “Never Forget.” Look how easily we pretend nothing’s happening. Or the problem is Steve Bannon instead of Donald Trump.”

Deli owner Greg Morelli posted an apology on Friday, a day after several news stories by local media.

Under the heading “Atonement,” the post read in part: ”3 Little Words. I Was Wrong. To those of you who called, who reached out, who saw me against the ropes, who offered a hand instead of a fist, L’Chaim! To those of you who bashed, who reacted without thinking, who fed on the indignation of others, who threatened my business, L’Chaim!”

It also read: “We’re all in this. We’re all still here. Trump is still president. This might surprise you, but I don’t want Impeachment. I don’t want Censure. I don’t want President Pence. I want a robust conversation. Then in the next election, I want the vote to show us who we really are. I want us to own it!”

Morelli, 49, said that he does not regret speaking out, but added that being trashed on Facebook hurt.

Other menus posted on Facebook in recent days featured a Statue of Liberty wearing a T-shirt reading “I’m With Kaepernick,” referring to the free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 gained widespread attention when he began protesting by not standing while the United States national anthem was being performed before the start of games, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, and Moses carrying the two tablets bearing the Ten Commandments wearing a t-shirt reading “I’m With Charlottesville.”

Morelli, who owns the diner located in Highland Park with his brother, told the Chicago Tribune that his business was flooded with calls after the image made the rounds on Facebook and in the media and that his family is “done with him.” He said he hopes the incident will not force them to close down.

He told the Chicago NBC affiliate that he was afraid not to speak up during this moment in history.

“I’m a Jew. I cannot pretend, in this movement, that I’m not afraid—but I’m also afraid of being afraid. I’m not going to go quietly on a train,” he said.

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