To American University Dining Services and the Administration of American University,
As members of the American University community, we appreciate that Dining Services makes the effort to supply the students on campus with excellent service and nutritious food. However, as a dining service at a school that “provides a welcoming environment for AU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors” (American University mission statement), it is startling to see products that openly support the Israeli army’s Golani and Govati Brigades. Supporting the Israeli army ultimately inhibits any chance of peace in that region. As students who respect the value of human rights and human life, we are disturbed knowing that Sabra Hummus is sold on this campus. Both Strauss Company, a co-owner of Sabra Hummus, and Sabra Hummus send supplies, financial support, and human personnel to these specific brigades, an affront to the American University way of life.
The Golani and Govati brigades have been charged with various human rights violations, including the murder of 1,440 Palestinian civilians during a siege on the Gaza Strip. Of those, 1,440 civilians 431 were children and 114 were women. Both Brigades also took part in the 2002 invasion of the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank, referred to by Israel as Operation Defensive Shield, or referred to by Palestinians as “The Jenin Massacre.” Furthermore, the Golani and Govati Brigades were not only involved in mass expulsions, massacres and mass rapes but also invaded and slaughtered refugees in civilian refugee camps, whose refugee status in itself is the result of the actions undertaken by these brigades.
In addition to the human rights reasoning of removing Sabra from our campus, a local brand such as Cava would provide a fresher alternative and one that connects American University more tightly with the surrounding community. Furthermore, the carbon footprint left by a local business such as Cava would be significantly less than the Carbon footprint left by a multi-national company, with headquarters overseas in Israel. Finally, local hummus brands will not be tied back to any humanitarian violations or found to be in support of any military occupation.
According to Princeton Review, American University is “a global center of government, Washington, D.C. stands unmatched in academic, professional and cultural resources.” It is wrong for American University to engage in business with an organization complicit with military groups that commit human rights violations and break international law. Instead, we would like to see AU as a leader in global justice.
Students for Justice in Palestine, along with students, professors, and other organizations at American University, are answering the call of the Palestinian civil society to boycott Sabra Hummus, Sabra family products, or any Strauss group products. No sale, advertisement, or buying of Sabra products should continue on American University’s campus. We would like to see Sabra replaced with a local brand of hummus. Until then, we will actively encourage community members to stop buying Sabra products. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time.
Blankfeld, Kelly. "Hummus Hullabaloo." Forbes. Forbes, Inc, 30 December. 2010. Web. 30 October. 2011.<http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0117/features-israel-strauss-group-sabra-hummus-hullabaloo.html>
"Fact Sheet of the Golani and Govati Brigades." Philly BDS. Philly BDS. Web. 7 Nov 2013.
Huffington, Arianna. "Sabra Hummus." Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 28 Aug 2013. Web. 7 Nov 2013.
Murphy, Maureen. "Student activists at Earlham College say Sabra boycott win only the beginning."Electronic Intifada. 12 Sep 2012: n. page. Print.