(JTA) — Swarthmore College will not discontinue the sale of Sabra hummus on campus, per a request in a petition signed by hundreds of students, but will offer an alternative brand.
The Pennsylvania school’s president, Valerie Smith, made the announcement Monday in a letter to the campus community. The alternate brand will be offered in campus dining halls and convenience stores.
The Swarthmore Students for Justice in Palestine had presented Smith with the petition last month. Sabra is owned by the Strauss Group, an international corporation headquartered in Israel.
The petition called it “morally unacceptable” for the college to allow Sabra to be sold on campus, and called the college an “accessory to the occupation of Palestine,” according to the Campus Reform website. It also noted that Strauss financially supports and sends care packages to the Israeli military’s Golani Brigade, a unit it called “particularly brutal.”
In her letter, Smith wrote that the hummus issue “has revived difficult debates pertaining to Israel and Palestine. Members of our community have been deeply affected by these conversations — some in ways that have led to greater understanding, others in ways that have led to distress.
“Our community is passionate about addressing issues of public concern. While that passion is commendable, we must continue to value the importance of remaining in dialogue with each other, especially those whose views and experiences differ from our own.”