In a shameless display of hypocrisy, Virgin Atlantic didn't just erase the word “Palestinian” from its in-flight menu but also apologized to pro-Israel customers for causing “offense.”
The British airline changed the description of its Maftoul dish — a mix of couscous, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and lemon vinaigrette — from “Palestinian couscous salad” to simply “couscous salad” after some of its racist passengers apparently found the word “offensive.”
The debacle started in December when a Twitter user, who goes by the name Dani Williams, shared a photo of the airline’s economy class menu, which included the Palestinian couscous salad at the top.
In the tweet, Williams disparaged the airline and called them “terrorist sympathizers.”
“This is the menu I received yesterday. Nothing like some BDS and delusionment [sic] with your salad. Last time you get my money #TerroristSympathisers,” Williams wrote.
Following this, another user named Anthony Den also posted a similar tweet.
Try telling virgin Atlantic. They called it Palestinian on their menu recently. Bearing in mind Jews have lived on the land you say they now occupy for over 3000 years maybe it should be called Jewish Salad— (((ant))) (@anthonyden1) December 27, 2017
Soon after, a Facebook user David Garnelas shared the photo of the menu on the social media page for Israel Advocacy Movement, a pro-Israel group.
“I thought this was an Israeli salad… obviously [Virgin Group founder Richard] Branson showing his true colors… Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation. When I complained the stewardess tried to take back the menu from me,” he said.
The post has since been deleted.
When Virgin Atlantic caught wind of the backlash, instead of putting the people straight about the dish, the airline apologized to the Palestine haters for the “offense” it caused — simply for putting the correct description of a dish in its menu.
“However, we always want to do the right thing for our customers and as a result of feedback, we have renamed this menu item from our food offering at the end of last year and we’re extremely sorry for any offense caused," their spokesperson said.
The pro-Israel passengers’ offense sprang from this truth: The modern state of Israel was created in 1947 after the United Nations gave 55 percent of the land belonging to Palestinians to Jewish immigrants and left Palestinians with only 45 percent. Israel than conquered an additional 23 percent when war erupted between the Zionists and Palestinians over the unfair proposal. During the “Six Day War” in 1967, Israel seized East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza.
To this day, Israel continues its genocidal campaign by systematically destroying Palestinian habitat, building Jewish settlement over there and isolating Palestinians behind an apartheid wall. The attempts of the beleaguered Palestinian to fight for their homeland had led Israelis to call them “terrorists” — a label that has no basis in truth.
The internet is understandably calling out the airline for implying Palestinians are offensive.
Palestinians have been so dehumanized over the years in the West, that even using the term to describe food is somehow deemed “offensive”. SHAME ON YOU @VirginAtlantic #BoycottVirginAtlantic https://t.co/R0jW2C2Pax— Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (@ASE) February 11, 2018
Thanks @intifada for bringing us this disgraceful @VirginAtlantic erasure of #Palestinian from their menu. Bending to pressure from those who can’t stand any reminder of #Palestine. It’s what we mean by cultural #genocide. Come on @richardbranson https://t.co/03LoCTtws7— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) February 11, 2018
Trying to wipe #Palestine off the map isn't enough for #Zionists; they have to wipe #Palestinian off the #menu too. #shameonyou #VirginAtlantic @virginatlantic Why does Virgin find "Palestinian couscous" offensive? https://t.co/SxJC4TGr3k— Anna Habibti (@AnaHabibti) February 12, 2018
so @VirginAtlantic changes a dish name on their flight menu from "Palestinian Couscous salad" to "Couscous salad" bc apparently the word PALESTINE is offensive. el oh elllll. God forbid we name something what it is ?? nothing like the existence of an entire ppl offending someone— subhi taha (@subhitaha_) February 11, 2018
We need to remove the word “virgin” from “Virgin Atlantic” as it has become a prostitute of Zionism.— Gamal Akabani (@GamalAkabani) February 12, 2018
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters, Louis Nastro