Why does Virgin find “Palestinian couscous” offensive?
Virgin Atlantic has removed the word “Palestinian” from the description of a dish on its in-flight menu, following complaints from Israel-supporting customers.
The airline acknowledged that the dish was a Palestinian recipe, but simultaneously apologized for “offense caused” by its use of the word.
The dish was offered on the airline’s menu for economy class passengers in late 2017 and was described as “Palestinian couscous salad.”
One customer giving the name Dani Williams took to social media to accuse the company of being “terrorist sympathizers” for using the descriptor. In a tweet, Williams posted a photograph of the menu and wrote: “last time you get my money.”
Other pro-Israel social media users responded to the in-flight meal by claiming couscous was not Palestinian.
One tweet suggested that the dish should be called “Jewish salad.”
A photograph of the menu was also posted on the Facebook page of a group called the Israel Advocacy Movement. An accompanying comment read: “I thought this was an Israeli salad.”
David Garnelas, the man who made the comment, also accused Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic’s founder, of “showing his true colors,” adding that “Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation.”
Since these complaints were made, Virgin Atlantic has renamed the dish “couscous salad,” with the word “Palestinian” deleted.