The Strauss Group is Israel's second largest food and beverage company and part owners of Sabra Dipping, the largest hummus manufacturer in the world.
For over 30 years the Strauss Group has proudly supported two elite Israeli army units - the Golani and Givati Brigades - both accused of severe human rights abuses against Palestinian and Lebanese people, including an infamous 2005 incident in which a Golani Brigade officer was convicted of beating a Palestinian detainee and threatening to dismember him.
When Change.org wrote about activism against The Strauss Group last month, their corporate responsibility commitment stated that the company was “there at the front to spoil them with our best products,” a reference to the perks the company has given the two elite army units for decades.
The Strauss Group has since erased the text from the English description of their community involvement, but kept it word for word on their main Hebrew site.
Time to finish the job folks. The Strauss Group has extensive international operations and is clearly worried about the threat attention to their support of the Golani and Givati Brigades represents. Not worried enough, though, to actually drop their support for controversial Israeli army units, or to say the same thing in Hebrew as they do in English.
Call on The Strauss Group to be clear, in both languages, about their policy towards the Golani and Givati Brigades.
Regardless of personal opinion, as a growing multinational and Israel's second largest food and beverage company, The Strauss Group should take the responsibility to avoid supporting highly controversial army units accused of human rights abuses and violations of international law.
The Golani brigade has been accused of severe human rights abuses against Palestinian and Lebanese people, including an infamous 2005 incident in which a Golani Brigade officer was convicted of beating a Palestinian detainee and threatening to dismember him. Yigal Amir, a far right Jewish extremist who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was also a member of the Golani Brigade.
Is this the image The Strauss Group wants to be associated with?
Last month the following paragraph was found in an online description of your company's corporate responsibility commitment in both Hebrew and English:
"In The Field With Soldiers: Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path. We have also adopted the Southern Shualei Shimshon troops from the Givati platoon with the goal of improving their service conditions and being there at the front to spoil them with our best products.
While your company did erase the above paragraph from the English description of your community involvement, you kept it word for word on your main Hebrew site.
בשטח עם החיילים
הקשר שלנו לחיילים אורכו כימי המדינה, ואף יותר. אנו רואים שליחות וצורך להמשיך ולהעניק לחיילים תמיכה, לשפר את איכות החיים ואת תנאי השירות שלהם ולהמתיק להם רגעים מיוחדים. אנו מאמצים כבר למעלה מ - 30 שנה את חיילי סיירת גולני ומעניקים להם באופן שוטף מגוון מוצרי מזון עם רדתם מאימון או משימה ושי אישי לכל חייל המסיים מסלול.בנוסף אנו מאמצים את גדוד שועלי שמשון הדרומי בחטיבת גבעתי במטרה לשפר את תנאי השירות שלהם ובמקביל בכל מערכות הלחימה אנו דואגים להתייצב לצד החיילים בחזית ולפנק אותם במיטב מוצרינו.
I call on you to be clear, in both languages, about your policy towards the Golani and Givati Brigades.
I look forward to your response.