Princeton students nix alternative hummus brand

Princeton University students voted down a referendum by a pro-Palestine student group calling for the Ivy League university to expand its hummus offerings, the school's student government said Friday.

It was a quirky campus vote about a chickpea dip that delved into international relations.

The student group Princeton Committee for Palestine wanted university-run stores to sell an additional brand, arguing that Sabra, the only brand currently offered, supports human rights abuses.

Sabra is based in Queens, N.Y., and Richmond, Va. Company officials say the firm makes donations only to charities in North America — and not to political causes.

The firm is owned by PepsiCo and the Israeli food conglomerate Strauss Group. Strauss contributes money to support troops in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Critics say some of those forces have abused the rights of Palestinians. Sarba officials say there have been attempts on other campuses to ban their hummus, but none has succeeded.

In Princeton, the effort wasn't to ban it, but to offer an alternative — and there's no guarantee that the university would have agreed to do so.

The undergraduate student government said the referendum lost 1,014 to 699.

As media attention built about the vote, a pro-Israel student group Tigers for Israel fretted that the outside world might view the university, one of the nation's most prestigious, as a place hostile to that country.

The group's officers were relieved Friday when results of the vote were announced. "This is an Israel-friendly campus that fosters open dialogue and discussion on issues relating to the Middle East," they said in a statement.