Supporters of the referendum argue that Sabra hummus is connected to human rights violations, but the connection is a weak one. PepsiCo and The Strauss Group each own half of Sabra Dipping Company. The Strauss Group, a large Israeli food and beverage company, provides care packages, sports equipment and financial support to soldiers in the Israeli army. One unit they support is the Golani Brigade, which has a history of disciplinary issues and has been accused of various human rights violations in the past. PCP believes that the human rights concerns created by this arrangement make it necessary for the University to offer an alternative hummus brand.
The Editorial Board believes that the human rights concerns regarding Sabra hummus are overblown. The type of assistance that The Strauss Group provides to soldiers has no tangible effect on the unit’s actions. There is no direct link between the Sabra Dipping Company or its executives and the Golani Brigade’s wrongdoings. But even for those students who feel that they would be implicated in human rights violations by purchasing Sabra hummus, there are many other options. The University prepares the hummus served in the dining halls, and the U-Store sells both Sabra and hummus made by Olives. Across Nassau Street, students can purchase hummus from Olives and other restaurants. The largest inconvenience for students who wish to avoid the product is that Sabra is the only option available in Frist Campus Center during late meal. But with so many alternatives available, the University need not incur additional expense to stock another brand just to address the concerns of a few.
It is entirely appropriate for students to examine where their own money and the University’s money is going — as in the apartheid divestment controversy of the 1990s. In this case, however, the connection between Sabra and the human rights violations committed by the Golani Brigade is weak. Given this tenuous link to human rights violations and the easy access to alternative brands, there is no reason to encourage the University to change its purchasing practices.