Student senator nixes plan to remove pro-Israel Sabra hummus from campus

A Grand Valley State University student senator’s attempt to ban Sabra Hummus from campus as a result of the company’s pro-Israel ties has failed because there “might not be room for progression,” per the group’s committee report.

Student Senator Jewel Haji stood before the university’s senate on February 4 to announce that she was working with the university to replace the hummus with a dip that has a less politically-charged background after a student reached out to her about the matter.

According to Haji in the meeting’s minutes, “schools are banning Sabra Hummus because some of the company owners are supporting Israeli militant groups that are violating human rights and are hurting a lot of people. However, Grand Valley said there weren’t any other companies they could get hummus from, but I found one, sent it their way, and now I’m waiting to hear back from them.”

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Haji initially told Campus Reform that “the university responded well” to her suggestion that they switch hummus brands and were “very much willing to meet and talk about the issues.”

However, Haji later told Campus Reform that she has decided not to pursue her proposal further. “Unfortunately, campus dining does not necessarily have an alternative through their contracted distributor and therefore and I am longer pursuing this project.”

While the group’s minutes were sure to include Haji’s efforts to boycott the pro-Israel company, they neglected to include Student Senator Benjamin Soltis’ voiced dissent.

“Looking into an issue such as that is not only almost stupid, but very illogical. The IDF is the Israeli army and they do not commit human rights violations. People accuse the IDF of things all the time, yet it is Gaza and Hamas that continually put the children in front of their soldiers,” Soltis told Campus Reform.

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Still, Maddie Cleghorn, GVSU Student Senate Chair supported Haji’s actions telling Campus Reform, “Senator Haji was doing her job of representing a concerned student interest by looking into adding alternative brands.”

Despite removing support from its website in 2010, several schools have discussed Sabra bans or boycotts, including University of California Riverside and DePaul University.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ericabau2