Student tells EI about Sabra hummus boycott victory at her high school

Update (1 December 2011): After this story was published on Tuesday, The Electronic Intifada was informed that the effort to remove Sabra from Lincoln-Way High School is not likely over. We will endeavor to update our readers about this and other campaigns to boycott Sabra as they develop.

Today Nadine Darwish, a sophomore at Lincoln-Way High School in the Chicago suburbs, tweeted the news that her school will no longer serve Sabra brand hummus.

Chicago’s DePaul University recently decided to provide an alternative to Sabra hummus after a campaign by the Students for Justice in Palestine.

Darwish had been working on an article for her school paper urging other students to call for the boycott of Sabra at their school. But she reported on Twitter that a brief conversation with the cafeteria’s lunch lady achieved the desired outcome — the school cafeteria will no longer sell Sabra hummus.

This afternoon she told me more about what happened, and that others concerned with human rights shouldn’t be intimidated from speaking up.

Maureen Clare Murphy: Tell us about your boycott victory.

Nadine Darwish: I was writing an editorial for my school newspaper because I’m in journalism club. Before turning it in I stopped by my lunchroom salad bar where Sabra hummus is sold and I told the lunch lady that Sabra’s mother company, Strauss group, funds the Israeli military’s Golani and Givati brigade. Their crimes are documented by Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and Amnesty International and there’s a global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement called for by Palestinian civil society.

She said, you know what, I heard about this. Didn’t they do something at DePaul? I said, yes, they did.

So she said the company that we get our stock from for some reason won’t provide Sabra anymore, so she was looking for another company to provide it to our school. And she said, you know what, forget it. I’m not going to order it.

MCM: Are your classmates aware of this? Did you get any reaction from other students?

ND: I went around and I asked my classmates, did you hear how they sold this at our school? And they said, no, actually, I didn’t. But the lunch lady said that [Sabra hummus] sells a lot.

But one of my classmates said I should still turn in my editorial, but make it more general — like don’t buy [Sabra] at all, don’t buy it from Costco, don’t buy it anywhere.

MCM: How did you learn about the boycott campaign targeting Sabra?

ND: I’m Palestinian, so I keep up with all this stuff. I remember when students were [campaigning around Sabra] at DePaul University.

MCM: Do you have any advice for other high school students who are concerned about protecting human rights, how they can do something at their school?

ND: I’m usually a nervous person but when it comes to Palestine, I know what’s going on there and I’m really passionate about it, and all my nervousness and shyness goes away. I’m really, really passionate about the subject and I’m comfortable talking about it with people. You can’t be scared. i was expecting a bad response from [the lunch lady] but she was like, can you give me Amnesty’s documents on the Gaza war, and she wanted to know more.

MCM: Do you have any plans for your next BDS victory?

ND: When I see something, I’ll go after it.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.