Virgin pulls Palestinian salad name from in-flight menu after complaints from Israel supporters
The ‘Palestinian couscous salad’ - which includes a mix of Maftoul and other couscous, along with tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint and lemon vinaigrette - sparked a backlash after passengers posted it on social media.
An image of the in-flight menu was posted on the Israel Advocacy Movement Facebook page by passenger David Garnelas, who said: “I thought this was an Israeli salad...obviously [airline founder Richard] Branson showing his true colours...Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation. When I complained the stewardess tried to take back the menu from me.”
The negative reaction to the meal’s name saw it changed on the airline’s menu.
“We were aware that Maftoul is not a widely known ingredient – so the dish was listed as a ‘Palestinian couscous salad’, and later as a ‘Couscous salad’,” the airline said in a statement to RT.com.
“We’d like to reassure all customers that our sole intention was to bring new flavors onboard, and never to cause offense through the naming or renaming of the dish.”
However, despite the effort to appease passengers, changing the name of the meal sparked a counter backlash from pro-Palestine groups.
“After an orchestrated campaign by Zionist groups, Virgin Atlantic airlines decides that Palestinian food is offensive. Removes the word 'Palestinian', but keeps the food. Shameful,” the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said of the change.
Twitter user Bassam Mansour said that maftoul is the national dish of Palestine and Virgin should not have caved to the demands of “twisted and hate-filled passengers.”
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