Pro-Palestine students want Swarthmore to ban Sabra Hummus
The SJP petition alleges that Sabra Hummus financially supports an Israeli military unit, declaring that "by selling Sabra, Swarthmore is an accessory to the occupation of Palestine."
The Swarthmore College Students for Justice in Palestine chapter is trying to get the administration to forbid the sale of Sabra Hummus on campus because of the company's ties to Israel.
Students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania are calling for their president to take Sabra Hummus out of campus stores, citing the company’s ties to Israel.
A petition created by the Swarthmore Students for Justice Palestine (SJP) chapter states that the reason for protesting Sabra Hummus is because the company is “owned by the Strauss Group, a multinational corporation that invests in, financially supports, and even sends care packages to the Golani Brigade of the Israeli armed forces.”
The petition asserts that the Golani Brigade is “particularly brutal,” claiming that it “has carried out countless human rights violations against Palestinians in Hebron, including arbitrary murders, assaults, incarcerations, evictions, and arrests of children.”
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The petition says it is “morally unacceptable” for Swarthmore to sell Sabra Hummus, arguing that by doing so the school is supporting “the international human rights violations of the Golani Brigade and Israeli Apartheid at large.”
Leaving no room for ambiguity, it adds that “by selling Sabra, Swarthmore is an accessory to the occupation of Palestine,” calling on Swarthmore President Valerie Smith to “affirm the dignity of Palestinian life, recognize the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, and deshelve all current Sabra products and end their future sale at Swarthmore College.”
According to the SJP petition, Sabra Hummus is currently sold at three locations on campus: the Kohlberg Coffee Bar, the Science Center Coffee Bar, and Essie Mae’s Snack Bar.
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The boycott is getting wide support across the Swarthmore campus, with more than 350 members of the Swarthmore community signing the petition, according to a tweet by the Swarthmore SJP.
In addition, the movement to ban Sabra Hummus from the Swarthmore campus has gotten multiple letters of support from student organizations on campus, including the Swarthmore African American Student Society (SASS), the Swarthmore Indigenous Students Association (SISA), the LatinX Students Organization (ENLACE), the Interfaith Center Interns, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and the Swarthmore Queer Union (SQU).
SQU, for instance, says it supports the effort to rid the campus of Sabra Hummus because “queer and trans liberation cannot take place without Palestinian liberation as well.”
ENLACE goes a step further in its letter, writing that “[w]e call upon our friends and families to no longer buy Sabra Hummus products” in addition to endorsing the petition.
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Swarthmore Students for Israel (SSI), on the other hand, strongly opposed the effort to ban Sabra Hummus.
“We, Swarthmore Students for Israel, firmly denounce the recent efforts to ban Sabra products from being sold on Swarthmore’s campus,” the group declared on its Facebook page. “The BDS movement is an effectively antisemitic (sic) movement which seeks to delegitimize and ultimately eliminate the State of Israel.”
SSI Vice President Rebekah Katz also told Campus Reform that the act is anti-Semitic, saying that “regardless of [how] anyone attempts to frame it, the BDS movement is rooted in the destruction of the Jewish State.”
Katz also said SSI is hopeful that President Smith will not cave in to the demands to remove Sabra Hummus from campus shelves.
“We are hopeful that President Smith and the Swarthmore Administration recognizes the danger in acquiescing to a BDS demand, and the hostile environment it creates for Jewish students both present and prospective,” said Katz. “Swarthmore is committed to dialogue and academic freedom, two ideals which the BDS movement inherently denounces.”
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This is not the first time that the Swarthmore SJP has called for a boycott of Sabra Hummus, however.
In 2012, the Swarthmore SJP boycotted Sabra Hummus for the same reason, and according to the SJP chapter, the Hummus “disappeared from campus shelves.”
Campus Reform reached out to Swarthmore College and the SJP chapter, but did not receive a response from either.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10