Sabra hummus products at three Acme Markets in Lower Merion were vandalized Wednesday with stickers instructing shoppers to “boycott Israeli goods,” according to an Acme spokesperson.
Sabra is owned by PepsiCo and the Strauss Group, an Israeli conglomerate that got its start as a business there in 1939. The Strauss Group has long been the subject of scrutiny among supporters of the Palestinian cause for its connections to the Golani Brigade, which is part of Israel’s military. The company is currently working with Israel’s national food bank Leket Israel to aid farmers in land bordering the Gaza Strip.
In Montgomery County, the contents of the Sabra products were not tampered with but bright yellow stickers were placed on the lids of containers saying the hummus was “contaminated with apartheid and Zionism.”
In a statement, Acme said the messages were “removed as quickly as possible.” The stores in Narberth, Bala Cynwyd, and Bryn Mawr were cooperating with local law enforcement to “prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” according to the statement.
“The foundation of our Acme culture is courtesy, dignity and respect,” the grocer’s statement said. “The vandalism that was committed on some of our products is an affront to that culture and the environment we wish to create for anyone walking through our doors.”
Sabra Dipping Co. LLC, which was created in 1986 and is based in White Plains, N.Y., produces a variety of hummus and other snack products. PepsiCo and the Strauss group agreed to buy the company in 2007.
A spokesperson for the Strauss Group declined to comment on the Lower Merion vandalism.
The application of stickers on Sabra hummus at the Lower Merion stores is the latest in a long history of targeting the brand as part of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel.
As the latest conflict plays out, so have calls to boycott certain businesses that support Israel or serve Israeli products. On Sunday, protesters supporting a cease-fire in Gaza marched from Center City to West Philly, also calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, which was attacked by Gaza-based Hamas on Oct. 7.
But a brief stop in front of Goldie, a falafel shop on Sansom Street, went viral as protesters chanted “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”
The event was quickly called antisemitic by elected officials, including Gov. Josh Shapiro, who said Jewish businesses shouldn’t be held responsible for Israeli policy.
On social media, Philly Palestine Coalition, organizers of the local boycott, said the businesses were singled out because they were “complicit in some degree in Israel’s system of occupation and apartheid.” They maintain that the boycotts are due to politics, and are not faith-based.
Acme had no knowledge of Sabra being targeted at their local stores before Wednesday, and all Sabra products remained in stock, the company spokesperson said.