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UK supermarket ‘terribly sorry’ about Sabra ‘apartheid’ hummus label

“This label is not a Sainsbury’s label and has been placed there by somebody,” the chain told JNS.

A label identifying Sabra "apartheid" hummus at a Sainsbury's supermarket in central London on Jan. 18, 2023. Photo by Georgia L. Gilholy.
A label identifying Sabra "apartheid" hummus at a Sainsbury's supermarket in central London on Jan. 18, 2023. Photo by Georgia L. Gilholy.

Just before 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, JNS spotted an antisemitic price tag alongside Sabra hummus at the central London Vauxhall train and bus terminal station branch of the U.K. supermarket Sansbury’s.

For £19.48 (about $25), shoppers could purchase “apartheid hummus,” per the label, which encourages consumers to “search #BDS for more info” and notes, “Buying this product helps support genocide.” (The label says “Since £19.48,” an apparent reference to the year of the establishment of the modern-day Jewish state.)

Sainsbury’s, which was founded in 1869, operates 600 supermarkets and more than 800 convenience stores, per its most recent annual report, which states that it made £690 million (nearly $880 million) in 2023.

JNS sought comment from Sainsbury’s on social media.

“Hi There. I’m terribly sorry about the label. I would like to confirm that this label is not a Sainsbury’s label and has been placed there by somebody,” a person named Anisha told JNS from the company’s official X handle (with nearly 600,000 followers). “I have fed this back [to] the relevant teams for an internal review. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Such stickers have been sighted on Sabra products in various Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarket stores across the United Kingdom.

Supporters of the anti-Israel BDS movement claim that Sabra hummus is linked to the Israel Defence Forces, through its association with the Israel-based Strauss Group, which co-owns the brand with PepsiCo.

The UK Lawyers for Israel charity contends that the BDS website refers to the Sabra brand sold in the United States, while Sabra hummus available in the United Kingdom is produced by the kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot and distributed by Osem, now owned by Nestlé.

Last year, UKLFI reported anti-Israel activist Darren Cullen, who designed the labels, to police for fraud and interference with goods with the intention of causing economic loss, citing potential violations of the Public Order Act 1986. It also warned major supermarkets that sell Sabra hummus to be vigilant and swiftly remove fake labels.

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