Sabra hummus banned by Student Senate from Dickinson College store

’A Resolution To Endorse the Banning of Sabra Hummus from the Devil’s Den’

(photo credit: EITAN WAXMAN)
A resolution banning the popular Sabra hummus brand from Dickinson College of Carlisle, Pennsylvania (pop. 19,196) has been passed by the Student Senate, as reported December 5 by news editor Lianna Brown (class of ‘22) in The Dickinsonian.
Brown wrote “’A Resolution To Endorse the Banning of Sabra Hummus from the Devil’s Den’ calls for endorsing the discontinuation of sales of Sabra products from the Devil’s Den as of Feb. 1, 2020 or when the current inventory is exhausted, whichever comes first. [The resolution] states that the banning is in alignment with the College’s commitment to sustainability and inclusivity.” The Devil’s Den is a convenience store on the Dickinson campus.
Henry Cohen (Class of ’20) authored the resolution and told The Dickinsonian that “this specific action is about taking the moral high ground. Throughout my life, I have stood in contrast to my Jewish neighbors on the issue of Israel at the cost of alienation and exclusion. I have stayed silent for the most part while at Dickinson, but now I find it in myself to invite my Jewish brothers and sisters to join me in this fight for justice.” Dickinson College is a private liberal arts college, with a student population of 2,420. There are about 250 Jewish students that represent approximately ten percent of the student body.
A second resolution, which did not pass, attempted an accommodation to students who keep kosher or eat vegan only. Regarding the failed  second resolution, Brown mentioned that it was accompanied by a statement explaining that “’Jewish Americans have seen a large spike in hate crimes directed at them in the last few years, [… and] Boycotting Sabra hummus is a hallmark of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel through economic means. The presence of this type of activity on campus makes some Jewish students uncomfortable.’ The resolution explained that BDS activities often evolve into anti-Semitic activities.”
Sabra brand hummus has been targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) list on many college campuses since 2010, including Swarthmore College, University of Manchester, and University of California Riverside.  Like at Dickinson, the claim for removing Sabra hummus originates from the BDS movement, which sites ownership of Sabra by two independent global food companies, US-based PepsiCo, and Strauss Group, based in Israel.
The term “sabra” is Israeli slang for a Jewish person born in British Mandate Palestine, when both Jews and Arabs were called Palestinians. The BDS site also points to the term “sabra” referring to an upgraded tank developed by Israel Military Industries. Further BDS claims are that the company is a subsidiary of Blue & White Foods, LLC, whose name refers to the colors of the Israeli flag, and that the original founding member of the Strauss Group was a member of the “infamous Haganah militia” and that Strauss “boasts” of its support of the Israeli military, specifically the brigades Golani and Givati, allegedly “notorious for human rights abuses.”
One of the main sources of support of the BDS movement is the Rockefeller Foundation. Its website states: “On-campus BDS efforts are led by the entity Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an advocacy group with over 115 chapters at U.S. universities.”
Three students mentioned in the article chose to comment anonymously, for “fear of backlash.” The students have reasonable concern according to the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy whose October 2019 document called The National Students for Justice in Palestine an “antisemitic force on campus,” according to the new 96-page report about the organization, that it “promotes antisemitic rhetoric” and is “associated [with] violence and terror, ideologically and politically.”
In light of US President Donald Trumps’s recent executive order calling on government departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, students on campus now have recourse and universities and colleges accepting federal support will need to examine their policies to consider whether campus activities potentially make them vulnerable to lawsuits. This may be the case at New York University when a former student initiated a lawsuit claiming the university allowed antisemitism on campus, That now may come within the purview of the new executive order.
Originally founded in 1773 as Carlisle Grammar School, Dickinson was chartered September 9, 1783, just six days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, making it the first college to be founded after the formation of the United States. That is landed gentry in American terms.
The college was first founded as a frontier school to give a Latin education to young males and it has included among its alumni, US Supreme Court justices Robert Cooper Grier and Roger Brooke Taney in the 18th-century and in the 19th century, James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, and Roger Brooke Taney, the 5th chief justice of the United States. Taney led the Supreme Court in its ruling on the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which held that Congress could not prohibit slavery in federal territories, overturning the Missouri Compromise.
By 1887, they had their first female graduate and native Americans could attend an adjacent Indian School with Dickinson teachers, after 4 decades, the first could graduate directly at Dickinson in 1910. Dickinson has caught up with the times. Their online catalog offers a wide range of life-style special interest groups and the school “seeks to develop a campus climate where people commit to understand, respect and appreciate others’ religious, spiritual and secular/humanist meaning-making practices. We will help all members of our community develop concrete skills to engage with differences among various worldviews and faith traditions, to confront religious intolerance on campus and in the world and to work together for the common good.”
A statement from Dickinson College responded, "Dickinson encourages students to voice their opinions and affect change through our governance structure. We are pleased that the discussion about this issue at the Student Senate meeting was civil, and that competing opinions were articulated."
“As an institution that deeply values global diversity and civil discussion and debate, Dickinson opposes this boycott," the statement continued. "In 2014, we rejected the call from the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities, and instead maintained our ongoing relationships with three Israeli institutions. We reject the current call for boycott on the same grounds."