Nov 30, 2010

#BDS: Hummus matters

The famous civil rights leader Cesar Chavez once said, “The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” Over the last few weeks, there has been much controversy over the Princeton Committee on Palestine’s call for Princeton students to personally boycott Sabra hummus and our campaign for a referendum asking the University to offer alternative brands in its retail locations. Initially, most of the criticism claimed that this project was trivial and that we should focus on more important things. However, after significant national and international media coverage and a huge opposition effort that included an attempt to stop the referendum from happening altogether, I think we can at least agree on one thing: This is important, and it isn’t just about hummus.

We decided to target Sabra because of its association with human rights violations. The Strauss Group, which owns 50 percent of Sabra Dipping Company, has in the past publicly “adopted” the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces and provides its members with financial support.Wednesday’s editorial by The Daily Princetonian said that these concerns are “overblown” because this support “has no tangible effect on the unit’s actions” and because there is no “direct link” between Sabra and the actions of the Golani Brigade. The editorial board has a right to express its opinion on when a product is sufficiently involved in human rights abuses to merit asking for alternatives. Nonetheless, these arbitrary prerequisites miss the point. Indeed, although the money we pay for a package of Sabra hummus could be going directly into the pockets of members of an illegal occupation force known for its brutality against innocent Palestinians, that is not even the main issue.

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