Originally published in the Autumn 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 63, printed October 29. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Autumn 2020 issue or download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.
Back in November 2008, a new $61 million food-manufacturing plant was announced for Chesterfield County that would produce hummus, the ancient Middle Eastern food made from chickpeas now wildly popular in this country.
Since then, the plant has expanded four times. The company that owns it, Sabra Dipping Company, LLC, now produces most of the hummus in the United States.
Locally, Sabra products are available at Kroger, Food Lion, Wawa, 7-11, CVS and Walgreens. The company is known for its green-friendly buildings and its partnership with local nonprofits like Renew Richmond to address the issue of food deserts in low-income communities.
So why are the Defenders asking you to boycott it?
Because the company supports notorious units of the Israali Defense Force.
Founded in 1986 as Sabra-Blue & White Foods, the company was sold in 2005 to Israeli food manufacturer The Strauss Group. Strauss and PepsiCo each own 50 percent of Sabra.
The Strauss Group, a publicly-traded corporation, is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company – and is widely known for its vigorous support of the IDF.
Until 2010, when it became more concerned about its public image and removed this from its website, Strauss’ statement on “Corporate Responsibility” included a section titled “In the Field with Soldiers” that boasted, “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.”
Even by the abysmal standards of the Israeli army, Israel’s “elite” Golani Brigade has a history of severe human rights abuses against Palestinian and Lebanese people. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the Golani Brigade “is known as a brigade that struggles with no small number of disciplinary problems and scandals, caused by bad behavior ranging from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians.”
Breaking the Silence, a group of ex-Israeli soldiers, has documented numerous cases of Golani Brigade involvement in human rights abuses.
As a shopper, you vote with your dollar. We ask you not to vote for Sabra-Strauss and the Golani Brigade.
For more information on Sabra and the boycott against it, see: http://bdslist.org/consumer/sabradipping-co-llc.
Categories: International & Antiwar News