Owner of Edinburgh Bagel Store Chain Accused by Landlord of ‘Typical Jewish Behavior’ After Asking to Defer Rent Payment Amid Coronavirus Crisis
The owner of a chain of bagel stores in Edinburgh, Scotland, was told by her landlord that she was exhibiting “typical Jewish behavior” when she asked him for a rearrangement of her rent payments due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Edinburgh Evening News reported that Larah Bross, the owner of the Bross Bagels chain in Portobello, a suburb of Edinburgh, has been forced to shutter her stores due to the pandemic, and is frantically trying to make financial arrangements with banks and landlords in order to save her business.
She asked one of her landlords, Mario Aydemir Demirezen, who is currently in Turkey, if she could defer this month’s rent payment, a request he refused.
In a text conversation, Demirezen wrote, “Why are you scared to talk and explain how will I get my rent?”
Bross replied, “Not scared. Just better to keep everything in writing so I can forward to my solicitor.”
Demirezen then said, “Typical Jewish behavior.”
Bross told the Evening News that she was “shocked and disgusted” by Demirezen’s slur.
“My first thought was ‘wow,’” she said. “I cannot believe that someone, not only in this day and age but at this moment in time, can say that. It’s incredible.”
In an apparent attempt to defend himself, Demirezen told the Evening News, “We are talking about the relationship between landlord and tenant here and she is a clever Jewish lady and she is taking advantage of Covid-19 and making more (money) than anyone else.”
“When I say typical Jewish, I mean they are the richest people in the world and very clever people,” Demirezen added. “She should be proud of her Jewish identity. Jewish people are always clever and there’s nothing wrong with that, she should be proud.”
“I have no intention to go against any religion,” he claimed.
Bross responded, “I would love to know in any context at any time where the term ‘typical Jewish’ was used as a compliment. I will be happy to offer free bagels for a year to anyone who can provide me with one.”
Demirezen asserted that he had demanded immediate payment because he could arrange for financial assistance while he was in Turkey, where he went for medical treatment and from where he has been unable to return due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Evening News quoted that Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey as saying of the incident, “Disgraceful that a landlord thinks way to respond to a tenant’s request for support is with appalling casual antisemitism.”
“I do agree with one thing he said, people should be proud of their Jewish identity,” he noted.