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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Protest Targets Sabra’s Israel Support

Protesters met at the Sabra Hummus House, a pop-up hummus restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue, to protest the company’s support of the Israeli army.
Protesters met at the Sabra Hummus House, a pop-up hummus restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue, to protest the company’s support of the Israeli army.

A group of protesters gathered outside the Sabra Hummus House pop-up shop on Wisconsin Avenue NW Monday evening to protest the company owners’ support of the Golani brigade of the Israeli army, in a demonstration organized by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

In the intermittent rain, protesters gathered in front of the store around 6:30 p.m. carrying a large Palestinian flag and signs denouncing the store for supporting human rights violations in Palestine.

“Sabra supports the Gaza siege: let Gaza live … let Gaza breathe,” protestors chanted.

According to its website, Sabra is owned by PepsiCo, based in the U.S., and by the Strauss Group, an Israeli food company that has provided for the Golani Brigade, a fraction of Israel’s military. In addition to the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip, the protesters also said that they were protesting the brigade’s “racist” T-shirts, one depicting a pregnant Muslim woman in cross hairs that read “1 shot, 2 kills,” according to the protest’s event description.

A spokesperson for the company told The New York Times in 2010 that Sabra had never contributed “hummus or anything else” to the Israeli military. Sabra faced similar pushback in 2010, when Palestinian students at Princeton and DePaul Universities protested the sale of Sabra hummus on their campuses.

“The company has no political positions or affiliations,” Sabra wrote in a comment.

In response to the protest, one customer showed his support for Israel by wearing an Israeli flag like a cape as he walked past the protesters on his way inside of the store. Ari Goldstein (COL ’18), a board member of the Georgetown Israel Alliance, said that the organization deliberately did not take any action to respond to the protest.

“GIA made a conscious decision not to stage a counter-protest on Tuesday because we are a proactive, not reactive, organization,” Goldstein said.

However, Goldstein disagreed with the aims of the protest and characterized it as divisive.

“I think the protest was short-sighted. It framed a complex conflict in black-and-white terms in which only Israel is at fault, which is neither a fair nor constructive assessment,” Goldstein said. “Not to mention the fact that boycotting a business just because it’s Israeli gets us nowhere closer to peace, mutual understanding or a two-state solution — it merely divides and antagonizes.”

Sarah Mink said that the demonstration was protesting against actions of the Israeli army and did not denounce the entire country or population.

“This isn’t anti-Israel, anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish. That’s a really common misconception that people have,” Mink said. “As a Jew, I’m really uncomfortable with Israel’s actions against human rights violations in Palestinian territories.”

GIA board member Josh Goldberg (COL ’17) also was uncomfortable with the protest, asking for students to support peaceful solutions instead.

“Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and therefore is an important strategic ally to the United States. Students should be aware of the current situation in the Middle East and do what they can to support a peaceful resolution,” Goldberg said.

Though Mink acknowledged the importance of peace talks, she noted that such solutions had failed in the past, requiring actions such as the protest.

“We’re of the mindset that all of the peace talks and negotiations don’t really work in diplomacy. Although we really believe in it, it is not necessarily what is going to bring about peace and end human rights violations,” Mink said.

Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Sabra Hummus House will be open through Oct. 26.

UPDATE: This article was updated on August 8, 2022 to remove Sarah Mink’s organizational affiliation due to privacy concerns.

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  • B

    Bill O'RightsOct 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

  • F

    Fact checkOct 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    “Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip”. The Hoya really needs to be more careful in fact checking, especially when dealing with such a sensitive issue. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. It no longer occupies the strip. A blockade? Perhaps. But definitely not an occupation anymore.

  • A

    ArafatOct 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

    In order to clarify my concerns, let’s take a look back in history to 1933 when Hitler rose to power and became Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis won a large number of seats in the German parliament. What followed was the notorious nationwide Nazi boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals directed by Nazi storm-troopers posting signs everywhere saying “Do not buy from Jews!” Widespread anti-Semitism mounted with the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 depriving Jews of their basic rights as citizens and banning them from all professional jobs in education, politics, academia and industry which escalated in severity ultimately concluding in the “Final Solution.”

  • A

    ArafatOct 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

    While Muslims in Syria kill women, children, elderly indiscriminately – up to 250,000 people and counting – we devote our anger on Israel for we are anti-Semites in sheep’s clothing.

    While Muslims have killed up to one million in Sudan, and counting, we devote our anger on Israel for we are really just anti-Semites pretending we are humanitarians.

    While Muslims in Mali have forced 500,000 (and counting) people into refugee status – as they have done in the past year – we devote our anger on Israel for we are anti-Semites pretending to be for social justice.

    While Muslims kill off what remains of the ancient Hindu population in-and-around Pakistan we devote our anger on Israel for we are like the Germans during the 1930s – people who needed a convenient scapegoat to escape their own feelings of frustration.

    While Muslims have wiped out all the Buddhists from their ancient homeland in Afghanistan we devote our anger on Israel for it’s easy to pick on Jews and we are shameless hypocrites engaging in man’s oldest prejudice, anti-Semitism, while pretending to be holier-than-thou.