Patrons, suppliers line up to help NY café that banned ‘Free Palestine’ pins

Strangers man the register, patrons line up around the block to buy coffee, and suppliers send free goods.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A café owner in New York City is receiving a lot of local love after his pro-Israel stance led to his employees quitting on him and putting him in danger of closing Tuesday.

Jewish Caffe Aronne owner Aaron Dahan told The New York Post that three baristas left soon after he put up an Israeli flag following the October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel when the terrorists massacred 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, including infants and the elderly, and kidnapped some 240 to hold as hostages in the Gaza Strip.

They also weren’t pleased that he had begun a fundraiser to buy ambucycles for Israel’s Red Cross, Magen David Adom, he said.

Another two baristas came in with Free Palestine pins on their shirts Tuesday morning, and when he asked them to take them off, they resigned.

Dahan, who was at a catering job, asked his mother to shut the doors since he had no staff, but instead she went in with friends and got a crash course in working the cash register and making special coffees.

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“I said, ‘Aaron, I’m not letting anybody close your shop,’” Peggy Dahan told The Post.

The word spread quickly on social media, and by early afternoon, there was a line of hundreds around the block on the Upper East Side as people came to show their support by buying food, drinks, and gift cards. Many were religious Jews, some held Israeli flags, and others were just outraged at the antisemitism that had been displayed.

“They’re just saying, ‘We’re in New York. We know terror. We know there is evil in the world, and the only way to combat that evil is through love and unity,’” Dahan said of his non-Jewish customers. “I’ve heard that a dozen times today, and every time I hear it, it makes my hair stand.”

Those who jumped behind the counter to help were a mix of people with barista experience and those learning on the go. Others offered to do the dishes, or mop the floors.

“It’s insane what’s going on,” Peggy said. “I got all these texts from people I don’t even know saying, ‘Peggy, we’re coming.’ I walk in, two people were hugging me at 8:30 a.m. Now there’s a line around the corner. It just shows what an amazing community we have.”

A whopping 1,700 customers came, the owner told the paper Wednesday, instead of the usual 300, and his ordinary take multiplied to $25,000 on that single day.

Dahan, who owns two more cafes in New York, said he had also received support from his suppliers.

“Our cup producers, a religious Christian family from Long Island, they said, ‘Don’t argue with us. We’re sending a truck only to you with cups. We’re not charging you for it,’” he said.

“Our coffee roaster upstate, he called me yesterday – ‘I’m at a conference in Indianapolis, but I called the roastery. They’re roasting ten new batches and sending it straight to you,’” he added.

Dahan had known his staffers’ general pro-Palestinian views, he said, but was disappointed at their refusal to dialogue, since he felt they were like “family.”

“Our staff was young. They think they know everything, liberal, college-educated,” accusing him of supporting “genocide” and “colonialism” when they “don’t really know” what those words mean, Dahan said.

“We knew our staff. We knew they were thinking these things. I said, ‘Let’s go for dinner. Let’s sit. Let’s ask questions. Let’s learn. Let’s realize that we’re not all here trying to kill each other,’” Dahan told the paper.

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They left, instead, giving New Yorkers a chance to show solidarity with the Jewish community by buying a kosher espresso.