CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard University Dining Services is ending purchases from a soda company because its water machines “could be offensive to Palestinian students.”
SodaStream recently purchased the company Harvard has used in the past. The company’s headquarters is in the West Bank, a “disputed territory.”
The Crimson reports:
Last fall, some members of the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society noticed that the filtered water machines in certain dining halls had Sodastream labels on them. Citing discomfort with the machines and the potential of the machines to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict, the students emailed House masters and tutors to arrange a meeting with University officials to have the machines removed.
“I think it is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semite to take stand against the occupation,” says Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance.
“These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights.”
Numerous student group representatives, along with leaders of the HUDS met with Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde to discuss the situation.
“The discussion focused on the potential effects of the machines on the student body,” according to Sandalow-Ash, who attended the meeting.
“Many” students pushed for removing the machines, while one student “argued that this move could be perceived as a University stance against Israel.”
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After the meeting, HUDS agreed to remove the labels off the current machines and buy future ones from a different company.
“I hope that Harvard’s effort to hear the concerns of Palestinian students and make make a meaningful change in response to these concerns will inspire further support for and discussion on Palestinian rights, both on this campus and around the world,” says Tez M. Clark, who is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.