(From the Chicago JUF News)
A nationally coordinated boycott effort aimed at Sabra hummus (a joint American-Israeli owned company) has reached Chicago's DePaul University. Last month, a Philadelphia grocery store was the scene of a "guerrilla street theater" exercise of dancing and singing against Sabra. Last week, the Princeton Committee on Palestine submitted a referendum to the university opposing Sabra's sale on campus. On Monday, it re-worded the appeal, requesting that multiple brands be offered, instead of only Sabra.
Then this week, DePaul's Dining Services, responding to an appeal from a pro-Palestinian student group, temporarily stopped the sale of Sabra hummus. A press release describing those actions - since superseded - attracted considerable attention on the internet.
Those developments prompted significant objections from Jewish students and discussions between JUF and DePaul's top leaders who indicated that appropriate university processes were not followed.
Moments ago, DePaul issued an updated statement: "DePaul University has asked its food services vendor to reinstate the sale of Sabra hummus on its Chicago campuses. Last week, university personnel asked them to temporarily suspend the sale of Sabra hummus following a request to do so from a campus student group on political grounds. It is policy when the university receives such a request, to first forward it to its internal Fair Business Practices Committee for thorough review and consideration before taking any action. The student group's request has now been forwarded to that committee. The primary purpose of DePaul's Fair Business Practices Committee is to protect the integrity of the University's mission and values with regard to DePaul's contracts and contractors. The Fair Business Practices Committee receives and examines complaints and makes recommendations to the president consistent with the University's mission and values."
JUF Executive Vice President Michael Kotzin said, "We welcome DePaul's decisions to reverse an earlier action taken by food service staff and to issue a new statement. As trivial as the determination of what hummus to serve to university students might seem, there are serious ramifications to this issue. It is clear that this action, following on earlier boycotts of Israeli culture and Israeli academics around the world, is but one component of a global assault on the legitimacy of the state of Israel itself. That assault surely must be resisted by all people of good will, at DePaul and elsewhere."
Responding to the review procedure now in place by the university, Michael Evers, in his capacity as the president of DePaul Hillel, has drafted a letter to DePaul's Fair Business Practices Committee expressing the outrage this episode has evoked among he and other Hillel students. The letter, being widely circulated via social media, is seeking additional DePaul student signatures.
JUF is combating the boycott phenomena on many fronts. One of the ways individuals can assist is by finding online and local retail sellers of Israeli products.