UCR Associated Student Council voted to ban hummus because it’s anti-Israel
Is this the biggest issue in the Palestine-Israel debate?
The Associated Students of UC Riverside voted in a unanimous vote of thirteen to zero for the removal of a particular brand of hummus, Sabra, from all campus dinning services.
The call to remove the brand of hummus in question was due to the media reports that the joint owner of Sabra, the Strauss Company, funds the Israeli military that has been accused of violating human rights. However the American based company of Sabra, is also owned by PepsiCo, and according to a company spokeswomen, “Each company is a separate entity and independent company,” and that the company in question (Sabre) has “no political positions or affiliations.” as reported by NBC 4 News.
Breitbart reports that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group supported the vote, yet favoring one group over another is not the university’s responsibilities. As a UC student, it is extremely disappointing that the council did not foresee the implications of this ban as a whole.
By voting to ban an Israeli and Jewish associated product from the university, it broadcasts to those who are Israeli in your student body that they are not welcome.
Now, the positions of Palestine and Israel is a topic that needs to be discussed, nor should any violation of human rights be condoned. But, to exclude parts of your campus community is not your duty as an official university organization.
An associated student body council is not supposed to favor one group over another, or one’s goal over another. Such a student body is to be a representative of all voices upon their campus. Such a vote as this divides your student body, even worse it creates tension between them rather than providing political discourse that universities are to encourage.
Rabbi Matisyahu Devlin, the UCR Chabad on Campus director voiced his concern for the message this vote sends, “Jewish students are afraid; they are disturbed.” He then continued to say, “If the motion passed, the message is clear: We don’t want you here, even your hummus.”
As an official student body of a university, your duty is to act on the best interest of all students. This vote does not reflect such sentiment. It reflects personal political pressure a student government should not succumb to. Here at UCLA we believe we are a microcosm of the world we will enter after college, if the university peers who cast this vote are in such a microcosm, they are no better to political leaders in this country who are condemned for pursuing their own personal political pressures.
You are the voice of university and the diversity of a school, consider all points of view and implication before you cast a vote such as this. The matter of Palestine and Israel is a complicated one, one which should invite political discussion on university campuses we, as a future, can work together on. Actions such as this vote do not invite such a discussion, it only breeds tension.
The administration at UCR has stated that they will not implement the ban after previously banning the hummus in 2015, as it shows the university sending a highly charged, divisive political message.