​Cookbook or Israeli propaganda? Waitrose slammed for ‘Taste of Israel’ pamphlet

A Palestinian woman sits near her house, that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, March 10, 2015. (Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
A British supermarket chain has come under fire on social media for including a government sponsored ‘Taste of Israel’ pamphlet in their monthly magazine.

Waitrose, which is the sixth largest supermarket chain in Britain, received a tirade from Twitter users who accused them of endorsing alleged atrocities in Palestine.

Several Twitter users said they would be returning their Waitrose loyalty cards or refusing to shop there in protest.

Published by the Israeli Government Tourist Office, the pamphlet has been attacked for calling Arabic cuisine and ingredients Israeli.

Some social media users pointed this out in their criticism.

Another Twitter user pointed out that hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas.

Mark Kerrison poked fun at the advertising campaign.

Other Twitter users reminded Waitrose that the ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip prohibits food from entering the region Noam Chomsky has described as “the world’s largest open-air prison.”

Samana Fazel called the supermarket’s attention to how Israeli policies impact on Palestinian agriculture.

One Twitter user posted photos of the destruction in Gaza as a result of last year’s Operation Protective Edge, which the UN estimates killed 2,205 Palestinians and 72 Israelis.

The Palestine Solidary Campaign has urged customers to complain directly to Waitrose.

In a news bulletin on their website, they said: “The booklet is a prime example of Israeli government propaganda, highlighting its efforts to distract the public abroad from its brutal military occupation of Palestinian land by replacing the image of an apartheid regime with that of a tourist-friendly, culture-loving country.”

READ MORE: ‘Israel has it all’: UK ad authority bans ‘misleading’ Jerusalem travel brochure

It is also a shocking example of the Israeli appropriation of Palestinian culture – in this case, food – in an attempt to erase the memory of Palestine from the land and replace it with Israel,” they added.

William Sitwell, editor of Waitrose Kitchen Magazine, said: “Waitrose Kitchen is not political – we take adverts from a wide range of different businesses and organizations.

The Israeli Government Tourist Office made national headlines earlier this month when an advert, which depicted the Old City of Jerusalem and claimed “Israel has it all”, was banned by the Advertising Standard’s Authority (ASA) for misleading the public into thinking the area was part of Israel.

Israelis took to the polls on Tuesday in what pundits are describing as a “closeelection between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party and the center-left Zionist Union.