The worldwide campaign to boycott Israel to pressure the country to end its apartheid system has claimed a small victory, after Israel’s largest food chain, Strauss Foods, removed from its website an endorsement of the controversial Golani unit of the Israeli military; a unit that has been specifically cited for human rights violations against the Palestinian people.Strauss owns the ‘Sabra’ brands of snack foods, including hummus, which is an Arabic traditional dip that has been coopted by a number of Israeli companies. Recently, Strauss launched a public relations blitz in the U.S. to promote Sabra brand foods, in order to counteract the boycotts launched by human rights activists against the products.
A viral video on YouTube made by activists with the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania show a group of activists in a grocery store performing a dance routine to a Lady Gaga song encouraging shoppers to boycott Sabra products, as well as Tribe hummus, which is produced by Osem, another massive Israeli food company with ties to both the military and illegal settlements.
After the video made it to the mainstream press in the U.S., Strauss removed its endorsement for the Israeli military unit from its website. The company has made no indication that it plans to stop contributing to the Israeli military or working with subcontractors located in the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, however.
The makers of the video say they are pleased with the response to the video, which included endorsement of the action by 450 local groups, businesses and individuals in the days following the action. One of the participants in the action at the Philadelphia grocery store said, “As a customer and as a Jew, I’m hoping that Fresh Grocer will pay attention to the concerns of its community and stop carrying Sabra and Tribe hummus. Not only would it be a significant step in support of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, but it would also help educate our own community about the power of our consumer choices.”