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Israeli food company Strauss defends supporting IDF

Students call for boycott of Strauss’ popular hummus

The chairwoman of an Israeli food and beverages company slammed a campaign by students at Princeton University and Chicago's DePaul University to boycott a popular brand of hummus, the Sabra label, co-owned with PepsiCo, as “against all the good things” her company does.

Students sympathetic to the Palestinian cause in Princeton carried out a vote on the popular hummus and the results showed that Sabra's abuses were "tenuous" at most, according to a report recently published by Forbes magazine.

The story was picked up by international media in furious op-ed pieces against the Sabra label and a Facebook page ("Boycott Sabra Hummus") was created to further push for a boycott of the product.

The student campaign against the hummus came after Strauss Group, Israel’s second largest food and beverages company, posted a statement on its website saying that it commits funds "for welfare, cultural and educational activities" to officers in the Israeli Army’s Golani Brigade, which has fought in every major war since the Jewish state was created in 1948, according to Forbes.

Strauss Group’s 50-year-old chairwoman, Ofra Strauss, who is a third-generation member of the family business, is a proud supporter of the Israeli forces.

"For us, Israeli soldiers are not army; Israeli soldiers are our kids," Strauss told Forbes in an interview. "When children of this country are in need, we will be there."

Strauss added that the boycott to their hummus product is a “against all the good things that we do. Among them: promoting workforce diversity (Muslims and Druze, along with Jews and Christians) and economic redevelopment in the northern city of Acre.”

The students mentioned in their campaign’s facebook page that an Israeli military commander, Col. Illan Malka, was being questioned by military investigators over the al-Samouni massacre in Jan. 5, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza Strip.

Malka was found responsible for killing 30 family members taking refuge in a building to which they had been brought to by Molko’s troops. Molko specifically approved the IAF missile attack on their compound despite that several air force officers warned him that the target site might contain civilians.