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February 2, 2017 8:25 pm

Jewish Students at UC Riverside Fear Spike in Antisemitism Will Follow Vote to Boycott Sabra Hummus

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Sabra hummus. Photo: Wikipedia.

Sabra hummus. Photo: Wikipedia.

Jewish students at University of California, Riverside are bracing for an increase in antisemitism on campus following a landslide vote by the student government to boycott the Sabra hummus company.

“We know what happens after BDS comes to a campus. We are expecting the typical fallout: swastikas, a rise in hate crimes,” Kevin Giser, the director of the school’s Hillel, told The Algemeiner, following Wednesday’s decision by the Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) to vote 13-0, with 1 abstention, on a resolution to ban the part Jewish-Israeli owned, American-based Sabra from the dining halls. The motion claimed that Strauss, Sabra’s parent company, donates money to the Israel Defense Forces.

As The Algemeiner reported, the motion was introduced by UCR’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which first tried to get Sabra banned from the school’s shelves in 2015, but failed to convince school administrators to make a long-term commitment.

Jonathan Handler, who serves on the student boards of the AEPi fraternity and Chabad on campus, told The Algemeiner, “I’m disappointed in the vote, but not shocked.”

“I’d like to think we could speak out and have our voices heard as Jewish students on the UC system’s most diverse campus,” said Handler, who actively campaigned against the motion. “But, the president of the Senate made it clear in his opening remarks last night that the only acceptable vote would be ‘Yes.'”

Giser told The Algemeiner that the resolution — which included a section “condemning administrative repression of pro-Palestinian activism” — was “short on facts, long on feelings.”

“There weren’t any citations to actual proof that Strauss gives money to the IDF. There was also no proof offered — and none that I could find independently — of UCR stifling pro-Palestinian students and their voices,” Giser said.

“Because the Student Senators are uneducated on the issues, they believe they were recognizing a way to make Palestinians more comfortable on campus. That was more important to them, ultimately, than intelligent inquiry — which is really unfortunate to see at an academic institution,” he added.

Rabbi Matisyahu Devlin, director of the school’s Chabad center, told The Algemeiner, “Our current plan of action is to increase the light on campus in this time of darkness.”

“We will renew our efforts to have kosher hot meals served in the dining halls,” Devlin said. “We are also planning to hold a weekly lunch and learn on campus, discussing various topics about Israel, including: the history and politics of its founding, the threats it faces and the good Israel does for the world.”

Supporters of the resolution celebrated on social media following their win, with one student writing on Twitter:

A UCR spokesperson told The Algemeiner, “The university has no plans to change brands offered for sale or consumption in its stores and dining facilities.”

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  • Benjamin Brown

    As a student at UC Riverside who was active in the effort to defeat this resolution, I would like to point out that the University administration have been as helpful and supportive as they could be given the circumstances. This resolution, like other BDS resolutions, were based on lies and misinformation coupled with emotional calls to action. While the student senate was convinced by SJP, the administrators have no intention of complying with a resolution that violates so many of the university’s policies. As students we have faced this before, and each time have responded by strengthening the Jewish community on campus in response to such attacks. I have no doubt that we shall continue this pattern. We do need help though. Those who are interested in helping can contact the various Jewish organizations on campus. We are always looking for new opportunities to strengthen our community and campus presence.

  • Barney

    jenin kiswani (@ja3aana) has done 31.5k tweets. A ‘professional’ Twitter gobshite. Not worth listening to.

  • Joseph Feld

    ALL Israeli firms presumably pax Israeli taxes and thereby support the IDF, but since when is the IDF unlawful? When did the State of Israel become unlawful? I understood that BDS covered produce of the ‘settlements’. How many U of C students are ‘undocumented?

  • anne

    I love Sabra spicy hummus, and you will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.

  • DocReality

    Who is Jenin Kiswani? What a moron…..

  • mathewsjw

    File complaint with FBI & DoJ because it’s a felony to discriminate based on race or religion…

  • Ellen Dweck

    I hope this bigoted and asinine voting result is not binding. Does the administration have to comply? Hopefully not.

  • Ayatollah Ghilmeini DD

    First they came for the hummus