University News

Hummus options added after SJP protest

In response to Students for Justice in Palestine petition against Sabra, U. adds Cedar’s Hummus

By
staff writer
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In response to requests from Students for Justice in Palestine to boycott Sabra Hummus, Dining Services has recently begun offering Cedar’s Hummus in University eateries.

Sabra is an American company partially owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement over its ties to the Israel Defense Forces. The group has contributed food and care packages to the IDF’s Golani and Givati Brigades, several sources said.

These brigades have “been accused many times in the past of human rights violations,” said Peter Makhlouf ’16, speaking on behalf of Students for Justice in Palestine. The brigades “have carried out several massacres throughout the West Bank and Gaza.”

SJP “didn’t want to be purchasing a product that supported those human rights violations, so we pushed for a boycott and an alternative,” Makhlouf said.

In November, SJP began to circulate a petition calling for Dining Services to boycott Sabra products. The petition received 225 signatures in about three months.

“The concept of choice is important to the team at Brown Dining,” wrote Emily MacCoy, the marketing and communications specialist for Dining Services in an email to The Herald. “In this spirit and in response to the concerns of these students, a second hummus option was added so the Brown community would have the opportunity to make their own decisions on which to purchase,” she wrote.

In December 2014, Wesleyan also began stocking Cedar’s alongside Sabra.

Daniel Youkilis ’19, a member of Brown Students for Israel and J Street U Brown, said that he personally feels that adding another hummus option was not a big deal.

“But I think that bowing to the pressure of an economic boycott isn’t a good precedent to set,” he said, adding that boycotting Sabra products only serves to “demonize Israel.”

“It is very easy to trivialize a hummus boycott,” but the BDS movement is “the single strategy for Palestinian rights from our perspective as students,” Makhlouf said.

Youkilis took issue with a flyer circulated by SJP encouraging a student boycott of Sabra that stated hummus is appropriated by Israel. He said that this claim was “factually wrong,” because Israel is home to nearly three million Mizrahi Jews — Jews with Middle Eastern heritage. Because their “ancestors have been eating hummus, (and) they have been eating hummus for their whole lives,” Israel is not appropriating the food, he said, adding that SJP should not “erase the existence of Mizrahi Jews.”

Makhlouf agreed that hummus is a part of Mizrahi Jewish culture but noted that while Mizrahi foods are celebrated as part of Israeli culture, Mizrahi Jews are “virulently discriminated against” in Israel.

“The appropriation of various Arab foods, whether those Arabs be Muslim, Christian or Jewish, is part of a colonial project,” Makhlouf added.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Peter Makhlouf ’16 said the Dinning Services movement is “the single strategy for Palestinian rights from our perspective as students.” In fact, Makhlouf was talking about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. The Herald regrets the error. 

5 Comments

  1. Colbert-Cordrry says:

    “Youkilis took issue with a flyer circulated by SJP encouraging a student boycott of Sabra that stated hummus is appropriated by Israel. He said that this claim was “factually wrong,” because Israel is home to nearly three million Mizrahi Jews — Jews with Middle Eastern heritage. Because their “ancestors have been eating hummus, (and) they have been eating hummus for their whole lives,” Israel is not appropriating the food, he said, adding that SJP should not “erase the existence of Mizrahi Jews.””

    Reality has a liberal bias, except in the case of Israel-Palestine.

  2. Man with Axe says:

    Has anyone in college these days stopped to think a minute about how silly this “cultural appropriation” notion is? Cultures bump up against each other and so they adopt aspects of the neighbor’s culture that they find appealing, including food, music, dress, and language. Everyone has done this since the beginning of time. But somehow today’s college students think it should stop.

    The actual foods I’ve eaten in the last couple of days include french toast, an italian meatball sandwich, nachos (at a restaurant), kosher dill pickles (Jewish), fettuccine with shrimp, and some Columbian coffee. The only American food I can recall eating lately is raisin bran.

    I was listening to some classical music today, all of which was composed by Germans and Spaniards.

    Now, what about those Palestinians? Do they wear western clothes? Do they watch Israeli television? What cultural notions have they adopted from non-Arabs? I hope it’s none, because if there are some, that would be so ironic.

  3. Doesn’t Intel have Israeli tech in their chips and do business with Israeli companies. AMD chips are an aternative, but they are not use in Mac laptops. Well, using a PC is a bridge to far for SJP members. Come on – I mean, you don’t expect them to walk the talk when it comes to giving up their macbooks. That’s inhuman.

    Oh, and those greeks should not be eating chickpeas either.

  4. As someone who has lived in the Middle East for 16 years, I can tell you from experience that Sabra hummus is just really not that good. The traditional way of making hummus, in the Lebanese/ Syrian style (which is hands down the best), involves a lot of Tahini, and steaming the chickpeas before mixing, which gives the hummus a creamier texture and colour. Sabra is made in the American style, chunky and lacking in taste, to appeal to local palettes. However, regardless of the political claptrap spouted by SJP and Hillel, based purely on taste and quality you would do yourselves a favour eating Cedar’s hummus. To be honest, I’ve found it to one of the more authentic brands when it comes to recreating Levantine style hummus. I’d be interested in hearing peoples thoughts on a taste comparison? Also, if you have time, I recommend adding a little bit of olive oil, squeezing some lemon juice, and adding pine nuts or pomegranate seeds to your hummus 🙂

    • Asher B. Garber says:

      So it’s not good. I happen to think it’s a bit bland, too. But for an Ivy League university to boycott the brand because Israel is nothing short of hysterical racist gibberish.

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