Jewish Students at UC Riverside Fear Spike in Antisemitism Will Follow Vote to Boycott Sabra Hummus
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:
I swear to god if I catch any of y’all with sabra imma drop you and that nasty hummus so quick that you won’t be able to take the first bite
— jenin kiswani (@ja3aana) February 2, 2017
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.”