Home inContext A Different Kind of Hummus War

A Different Kind of Hummus War

Samara Greenberg

This blog loves nothing more than a good hummus war, when Israeli or Lebanese chefs battle it out to create the largest batch of hummus ever recorded.

Last month, however, a different kind of hummus war was fought. Students at DePaul University in Chicago voted on whether or not Sabra brand hummus should be removed from their school’s dining halls. The vote was allowed by DePaul’s Student Government Association after the campus’ Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) argued that Sabra’s parent company, the Strauss Group, supports two Israeli units, the Golani and Givani brigades, accused of human rights violations.

Last November, SJP petitioned DePaul to remove Sabra from its shelves, which it did for two weeks before returning the brand pending a review by the university’s Fair Business Practices Committee. The group did not want to wait for the school to make a decision, however, and brought a vote before the student body on this year’s student government ballot.

The vote, though nonbinding, failed. The measure needed 1,500 votes to pass but received only 1,467 with 1,127 of the votes in favor and 332 against. Following the vote, the school’s Fair Business Practices Committee decided to continue to stock the university’s shelves with Sabra after concluding that “there do not appear to be sufficient grounds for a boycott of Sabra Hummus, primarily because the committee did not find evidence that the Strauss Group provides direct military support for units within the Israeli Defense Forces.” SJP countered: “As long as Sabra remains the school’s hummus brand of choice, SJP’s campaign is not over.”

DePaul’s committee was right to keep Sabra on school shelves. Aside from being one of the best tasting hummus’ around, the SJP boycott campaign along with the larger global Israel boycott movement is a sham. So caught up with de-legitimizing Israel, the SJP and others like it wouldn’t dare speak out against, or boycott products from, an Arab country for its human rights violations against their own and the Palestinian people, which are undoubtedly many.