Frozen dessert store hit with barrage of negative reviews online in order to destroy the Israeli-owned business. But anti-BDS activists fought back.
Within days of opening its doors, a Toronto gelato shop was targeted with a wave of negative reviews simply because it’s an Israeli owned business.
Solato, a Maalot-based startup, uses a revolutionary pod-based system to prepare tasty frozen treats. FastCasual.com, which reports on trends in fast casual restaurants, labeled Solato’s gelato machine one of 2021’s “top ten robots automating the restaurant industry.”
“This startup has developed Solato, which looks like a Nespresso machine for ice cream, leading the gelato-making evolution with the “smoothest, creamiest gelato made fresh in a moment,” wrote FastCasual.
“This countertop device makes authentic artisan gelato, fruit sorbets, frozen yogurt and ice coffee using biodegradable capsules, which can also be used as the serving bowl. Solato is ideal for small cafes and restaurants looking to upgrade their menu with fresh ice cream without wasting precious space and money,” the site added.
But anti-Semitic activists determined to boycott Israel soon launched a campaign of negative reviews.
“Go on their Google reviews and put 1 star,” wrote one person on Twitter followed by #FreePalestine and #BoycottIsrael.
“Culturally appropriated gelato,” said another.
According to the National Post, “Out of 738 reviews, the majority of people gave the gelato shop five stars, but the second-most popular rating is one star, pulling the company’s average down to 3.9 stars.”
“More than 200 reviews were posted Friday morning alone. But by Friday afternoon, it appeared the shop had been removed from Google, and the reviews along with it,” the Post added.
Pro-Israel clients began fighting back, with positive reviews as well as frequenting the store, Israellycool reported.
“I really should thank the protesters for bringing this business to my attention. I didn’t feel like having any ice-cream. Now I can’t wait to drive 30 minutes just to get some,” tweeted one Israel supporter.
This isn’t the first time that a BDS campaign backfired in Toronto. For example, two years ago an activist tried calling for a boycott of “Taste of Israel,” and the result was higher sales.
In 2009, a boycott campaign against Israeli wine organized by Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism backfired when hundreds of consumers staged a counter-boycott and bought up the Summerhill LCBO’s entire stock of Israeli wine in a matter of hours, the Canadian Jewish News reported at the time.
Solato also has an outlet in Montreal.
Since the recent Gaza conflict, Canada has seen a wave of anti-Semitism, including incidents of harassment, vandalism and other hate crimes.
The Palestinian activists and academics who founded the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign have made it clear the movement’s goal is the eradication of the Jewish State.