Atlanta bakery stands up to Jew-hatred

By Susan Lamont
March 11, 2024
Militant/Susan LaMont

ATLANTA — “We came today to extend our solidarity to you and your family in standing up against the boycott of your store,” Lisa Potash, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in the 5th District, told Sagi Shablis during a Feb. 22 visit to Ali’s Cookies here.

Sagi and his wife Nofar Shablis, both from Israel, have owned the cookie shop near Emory University since 2022, after moving to Atlanta from Israel the previous year. Both served in the Israel Defense Forces.

Following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of Jews and others in Israel, the couple displayed an Israeli flag inside their store. “Oct. 7, 2023, that is a day that I am sure everyone will remember as Black Saturday,” Nofar Shablis told the Atlanta Jewish Times. “For me, and for every other Jew and Israeli, these horrors, this reality, is so hard to explain and to cope with, to know that my people suffered and still are, is heartbreaking. Since that day, the store hasn’t been the same.”

Sales dropped, the store was “unfollowed” by some on social media and others who came into the store turned around and walked out upon seeing the Israeli flag. The Emory campus has been the site of many “pro-Palestinian” actions in recent months.

Boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses in Nazi Germany were “how the Holocaust started in the first place,” Nofar Shablis told Fox5 Atlanta.

The Shablis held their ground and began publicizing the impact of the boycott. Messages of support began rolling in. “I will order more cookies immediately,” one person wrote. “I live in Chattanooga, can you ship?” asked another.

“It’s important to respond to every act of Jew-hatred and antisemitism, as you have done,” Potash told Sagi Shablis. “We use our campaign to explain that the fight against Jew-hatred is a life-and-death question for the working class in the U.S. and everywhere, as is defense of Israel’s right to exist as a refuge for Jews.”

“Thank you so much for your support,” Sagi Shablis answered, showing us a “Free Palestine! End the genocide!” sticker like ones they often have to scrap off the front of their store. While they continue to receive phone and mail threats “business has returned to normal,” he added, with a smile.