Sabra boycott referendum up for student vote at DePaul University

SJP DePaul’s boycott campaign poster

Last week, The Electronic Intifada posted this video by Chicago university students explaining why they are boycotting Sabra brand hummus.

Students for Justice in Palestine has undertaken a campaign to kick Sabra off of campus because the company’s parent company provides material support to two notorious Israeli military brigades.

After the university initially agreed to remove Sabra hummus from the school’s cafe, outside pressure from the usual suspects caused DePaul to reverse its decision. However, SJP activists didn’t take no for an answer and they are now posing the question of whether the school should boycott Sabra through a student government referendum. SJP DePaul’s press release follows:

CHICAGO, IL (May 15, 2010)—Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at DePaul University has been campaigning for the University to stop selling Sabra hummus products on its campuses. SJP is concerned with the actions of Sabra’s parent company, the Strauss Group, which provides financial support and supplies to two Israeli military brigades, the Givati and Golani.

These brigades have committed a series of human rights abuses since their formation in 1947 and 1948, respectively. Numerous instances have been reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations. Recent examples include Givati brigade soldiers endangering Palestinian children by forcing them to serve as human shields; members of the Golani brigade opening fire on a civilian home, killing three young girls; and a Givati brigade soldier shooting and killing a Palestinian mother and daughter as they were carrying white flags during Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip from December 2008 to January 2009.

On Thursday, May 12, members of SJP DePaul presented a referendum to the Student Government Association (SGA) concerning Sabra and asked them to place it on this year’s SGA election ballot. The language of the referendum states:

“Sabra, which currently supplies hummus to the DePaul cafeteria, is co-owned by the Strauss Group. The Strauss group provides financial support and supplies to the Golani and Givati brigades of the Israeli military, which have been found by the United Nations to be violators of human rights. Are you in favor of replacing Sabra with an alternative brand of hummus?”

After deliberation, the SGA decided to place the referendum on the ballot for students to consider during the upcoming election. This referendum is the first student referendum on a SGA ballot in at least ten years.

Students may vote on the referendum from midnight on Monday, May 16th until 9:00am on Friday, May 20th. It will pass if 1,500 students vote and the majority votes in favor of replacing Sabra with an ethically conscious brand.



Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.