A brand of hummus which caused debate among students at the University of Manchester has recently been removed from the Campus shop. The ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand of hummus has divided students, with the brand manufactured in the West Bank. Members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign set up a petition to urge the shop to stop stocking the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand. Days later, the brand had disappeared from the shop. The BDS campaign hailed the decision as a ‘triumph’, yet in a twist the University has denied claims they stopped stocking the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand due to pressure. Read on for more.
Hummus continues to be one of the nation’s favourite sauces – and is stocked in stores up and down the country. The ‘Sabra Mezze‘ brand was formerly stocked in the campus shop of the University of Manchester – and can be found in many stores across the United Kingdom. The ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand is based in the Netherlands, although manufactured in the West Bank. Yet the brand has proved controversial to some – with the BDS claiming the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand is manufactured in a region that they suggest is ‘complicit’ in human rights violations.
As mentioned, many students have taken exception to the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand being stocked in the University shop. A petition was created by campaigners to urge the University to stop stocking the brand. The petition stated that by stocking ‘Sabra Mezze’ products, that the University were ‘actively’ endorsing ‘Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations’. Over 500 people signed the petition – showing the level of dismay that some students felt over the brand. In the days following the petition’s support, it appeared to make a difference.
The campus shop appeared to stop stocking the hummus. This was hailed as a ‘triumph’ by the BDS, who suggested their campaigning was key to the decision. However, the University had a different account of what happened. They suggested a new member of staff had made a mistake in changing stock – not following the ‘correct procedure’. Yet after switching to a new supplier, they no longer had access to the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand in any case. This was called ‘coincidental’ by the University, who stated their decision was unrelated to the student campaign.
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It is difficult to know which account is true. This is far from the first time that the ‘Sabra Mezze’ brand has faced negative publicity in the United Kingdom. But it appears this case has concluded, with the campus shop set to use a different brand of hummus.
A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the brand in question as ‘Sabra’. ‘Sabra Mezze’ (as featured in this article) and ‘Sabra’ are two different entities. ‘Sabra’ is a well-established brand manufactured and based in North America. Conversely, ‘Sabra Mezze’ is a brand located in the Netherlands. We apologise for this misinformation. The latest version of this article reflects the clarification. Click here to see more.