We regard it as newsworthy when human-rights-supporters call out American cultural figures over the Palestine question, because we see this as a hopeful trend; and the latest example is Ellen DeGeneres doing a promotion for Sabra Hummus as “America’s favorite hummus” and her ad getting panned by a bunch of folks on her twitter feed.
OK, it’s just twitter; but the chorus of boos is a reminder that when liberal celebrities stand up for Israel, they’re going to face a groundswell of opposition inside their own base. DeGeneres did the bit on May 10.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 10, 2017
Here’s some of the pushback, on that tweet:
Parrish Person: “Sabra funds war crimes. Don’t do commercials for them.”
Our own James North: “Consumers should be aware that Sabra sustains #Israel’s illegal, 50-year occupation of #Palestine: the #WestBank and #Gaza.”
Andy Kite: “Sabra is a company that actively supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Get this promoted crap off my feed.”
Karen: “sabra profits from illegal occupation of Palestinian land in violation of international law. You should not be promoting then”
Sahar Shafqat: “Thanks for supporting apartheid”
As for Sabra Hummus, here’s Charlotte Silver at EI:
Sabra is a frequent target for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns because it is partially owned by the Israeli company Strauss Foods, which actively supports the Golani brigade, an “elite” unit in the Israeli army which is responsible for grave human rights abuses.
While Strauss has removed its more strident language praising the Israeli army since the BDS movement has grown, it remains a supporter of a brigade which has participated in some of the bloodiest attacks.
In this connection, I’d point out again that the PEN America World Voices fest just came off without its traditional sponsorship from Israel. Dropping Israel as a sponsor was, I believe, intentional; though PEN’s director Suzanne Nossel was careful not to cop to that. What is undeniable is that PEN came under considerable pressure from Adalah-NY’s steady campaign over the sponsorship; and Nossel was responsive to Adalah.
Here is Nossel at the PEN gala giving a courage award to the Women’s March in Washington as the largest demonstration in U.S. history. You can see that Nossel condemns “border walls and visa bans” and issues a rallying cry of resistance to the Trump administration and to oppressive regimes around the world, from Moscow to Egypt to Tehran. She says the women’s march reminded us that we have the “luxury to stand up for others,” and that “our rights and values would not go down without a fight.”
In that context, it would be the height of hypocrisy for PEN to be taking money from the Israeli government. Trump and the 50th anniversary of the occupation have made it much harder for liberal groups to stand by Israel. Ellen DeGeneres is hearing that.
Alan Dershowitz said it the other day in Scarsdale. Israel used to be “very easy to defend,” he said. “Boy have things changed dramatically over the last 50 years….Today no major university will have me speak at a graduation because I’m too pro Israel.” Don’t tell me the struggle hasn’t produced results.