Irate pro-Israel customers called for a boycott of Virgin Atlantic, the company founded by Richard Branson, after it served a Palestinian salad. The airline, however, caved swiftly following the complaints and edited the name of the dish.
That’s my salad!
In December 2017, Virgin Atlantic included a dish on its in-flight menu called “Palestinian couscous salad”. But after a flight, some passengers complained about the dish’s title:
— Dani Williams (@Thedaniwilliams) December 23, 2017
Another customer took to Facebook, claiming the salad was Israeli. He also said that “Israelis must [sic] boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation”.
The airline has since confirmed that the salad is indeed a Palestinian speciality. It told The Electronic Intifada:
Our salad is made using a mix of maftoul (traditional Palestinian couscous) and couscous…
But Virgin Atlantic said that, as a result of “feedback”, it has now disguised the dish’s origin. It will now call the dish “couscous salad”. The airline also added that it “always want[s] to do the right thing for our customers” and is “extremely sorry for any offense caused”.
Unsurprisingly, the airline could not explain to The Electronic Intifada why it is ‘offensive’ to call food by its real name.
That’s my land!
This is the result of decades of Israeli propaganda, which not only tries to deny the very existence of the Palestinian people, but also their culture, their history and their memory.
Of course, it’s very useful for Israel if it manages to deny or distort the Palestinians’ existence, culture, history and memory. Because that makes its colonisation of Palestine and dispossession of the Palestinian people more palatable to others.
Essentially, Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has just done Israel’s dirty work for it. Its choice to kowtow to the irrational whims of a few people is helping to make the Palestinians invisible. And the less visible they are, the less likely people are to care or notice what happens to them.
That’d be good news for Israel. Because it favours, among other things, a proposal called the “sanctuary plan“. That’s a ‘peace’ plan the US is reportedly working on with Saudi Arabia. But it won’t sit well with people if they’re concerned for the Palestinians. Because the plan requires Palestine to give up around 50% of the occupied West Bank to Israel.
So shame on Virgin Atlantic for bowing down to this pressure. It deserves nothing but derision for this cowardly and damaging act.
– Take action with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?