The Central NY Committee for Justice in Palestine (CNYCJP) was formed in July 2014, including by members of Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace and Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine. The group is led by long-time Ithaca-area anti-Israel activists and supporters of the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement.

The group gained internet infamy when it shared on its Facebook page a disgusting photoshop of Nazi concentration camp inmates holding anti-Israeli signs. They took it down only after I wrote about it and people started complaining.

I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists Facebook Image Holocaust Survivors with Anti-Israel Signs - Central NY Committee

On February 1, the group is launching its drive to ban Israeli food products, particularly Sabra Hummus, from local stores, starting with the Greenstar Food Co-op in Ithaca.

CNY CJP Event Page Greenstar Launch

The group has had a table set up at Greenstar urging a Sabra Hummus boycott for months.

But now it is launching a formal campaign. As part of that launch, CNYCJP posted on its Facebook page a poster claiming that Sabra Hummus was named for the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon in 1982. In that massacre, Christian Phalangists killed several hundred Palestinian refugees; Israel was blamed for not preventing the massacre, but no Israeli troops took part.

Here is the Facebook post:

CNY Committee Sabra Hummus Named Massacre

The claim is a lie, and a form of blood libel at that. Neither the name nor the history of the product suggest that it has anything to do with the massacre, and of course, the massacre was not done by Israelis.

As Elder of Ziyon pointed out in response to , Sabra is a term referring to a type of prickly fruit (rough on the outside, sweet on the inside), often used to refer to Israelis born in Israel as opposed to immigrants. That was particularly significant decades ago, where as now the vast majority of Israelis are native-born. Even Wikipedia explains the term:

Sabra is an informal term that refers to Israeli Jews born in Israel. The term first appeared in the 1930s to refer to a Jew who had been born in Mandatory Palestine or in Ottoman Palestine (cf. Old Yishuv). Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Israelis have used the word to refer to a Jew born anywhere in the historical region of Palestine (Eretz Yisrael), which today comprises Israel proper, Gaza, and the West Bank.

The term alludes to a tenacious, thorny desert plant, known in English as prickly pear, with a thick skin that conceals a sweet, softer interior. The cactus is compared to Israeli Jews, who are supposedly tough on the outside, but delicate and sweet on the inside.

Moreover, the product was started in 1986 in Queens, NY, by a company originally called Sabra Blue & White, with the colors representing the colors of the Israeli flag:

The company was founded in 1986 as Sabra-Blue & White Foods (Sabra being a nickname for an Israeli-born person and Blue & White representing the colors of the Flag of Israel).

There is nothing to suggest that the Sabra Hummus brand was named after the massacre, yet CNYCJP defended the claim when people called them out on it:

CNY Committee Sabra Hummus Named Massacre Response re Name

(The claims of Israeli responsibility are disputed and controversial, with a commission having found only “indirect” responsibility for failure to anticipate what the Phalange would do.)

After many more complaints were posted as comments on CNYCJP’s Facebook post, the claim finally was taken down today by Ariel Gold, who had originally posted it and who is one of the leaders of Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace and CNYCJP:

CNY Sabra Hummus Post taken down Ariel Gold

It’s good that they have backed off the lie about Sabra Hummus.  But as Elder of Ziyon further points out, it is a common lie spread by the BDS movement.

That the Greenstar anti-Israel  food boycott campaign started with a lie and stayed with it as long as it did says everything you need to know about the group and the Greenstar boycott movement.

You will be hearing more about this, for sure.


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