Well, I’ve been meaning to look into Aroma’s status for a while. I only got around to doing so last night. Today, as I sit in the Rooster in the above photo (both taken by myself), I’m typing up my findings, which I now present.
This Rooster is Shawn Andrews and her partner Dave Watsons’ second Rooster. They now own and manage 3. I happen to work not too far away and just happen to find this shop well located in that I can chill here before heading on to work (for a company I detest and which happens to also be a target of BDS). It’s on the 504 streetcar line, a great line for getting to a good variety of coffee shops, chains and indies. I came to Toronto in ’93 and watched the indy coffee scene explode. There was virtually nothing on the 504 line (east of Yonge St, which is where I am most of the time), which begins at Broadview station at Danforth & Broadview and eventually makes its way down to King and then runs across the city for a long way. I forget exactly where it turns around.
The coffee here is okay, but coffee elsewhere is often awful. There’s not a lot of great coffee out there, for whatever reasons. Rooster has its positives and no short of negatives. The cold drink selection is crap. The eats are awful. The communal table is too high. Then there are issues with their wifi, which is on and off. But, as far as I know, Shawn and Dave aren’t down with murdering and oppressing people in order to steal their land. They aren’t racists and would never support those, like Aroma’s owner and founder, Sahar Shefa, who are.
I wandered into Aroma when it finally opened, knowing nothing about it. The coffee is awful. I can only choke it down as a macchiato. But the eats are stellar, as is the service. When I learned that Aroma is an Israeli chain, I wondered just what that meant. Israel’s an absolute mess, made so by its religious and political and military ‘leadership’. Israeli leadership, over the years, has gradually completely ruined, mentally and spiritually, the minds of its citizens. Pretty much the entire population is now racist, twisted and violent. So when I learn that something is Israeli, I don’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling, such as a good cup of coffee might produce.
Here’s what I found out last night:
1. Aroma’s Tel Aviv owner and founder, Sahar Shefa, came upon a colored (to what degree, I don’t know) Aroma employee (Mali Shalev) and, without provocation said this to her: “You see my skin color? I’m white and you’re black, I will screw you, this white guy is going to teach you a lesson, you are a black stain. You are a black and inferior woman. You are an idiot. You’re nothing and I make 800 dollars a minute.” Sure, He apologized to her, after being taken to court over it, and said all the right things. But the cat’s out the bag. As well, Actions speak as loudly as words…
2. “One of Aroma’s branches is in Ma’aleh Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Several Palestinian and Bedouin villages were destroyed so that it could be built. Only Jews are allowed to live there, not the indigenous Palestinian population. It is strategically situated just outside of Jerusalem on the road to Jericho, and is part of a clear plan by Israel to expand and annex East Jerusalem and beyond, driving out the Palestinians who have lived there for hundreds of years. Settlements like Ma’aleh Adumim, and there are many, are in clear violation of international law. They are made possible by continual ethnic cleansing and home demolitions.” – from “Why Boycott Aroma Espresso Bar?” at Connexions Online
See also the inminds articles on Aroma and BDS.
Don’t expect to get much information about Aroma Espresso Bar from Wikipedia. You won’t even find a mention of who found the chain. No mention of controversy (BDS). Nada. Call it ‘fake news’, because that, among other things, is what missing news is.