Virgin Atlantic was the subject of a social media row after removing the word Palestinian from an in-flight meal following complaints.
A couscous-style salad had been described on a menu as “inspired by the flavors of Palestine”.
Pro-Israel social media users called for a boycott of the airline, saying it pandered to Palestinian supporters.
However, the airline’s decision to remove the terms sparked a fresh backlash from Palestinian sympathizers.
Twitter user @Thedaniwilliams highlighted the controversial dish after taking a flight in December 2017.
Why does @VirginAtlantic find "Palestinian couscous" offensive? Why is the airline apologizing for using the word “Palestinian” to describe a dish that it acknowledges as Palestinian cuisine? https://t.co/9psq4pcVDy pic.twitter.com/rzVFOwiyHv
— PACBI (@PACBI) February 13, 2018
Sharing a photo of the menu, they suggested the airline had been influenced by the pro-Palestinian campaign group Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS).
David Garnelas shared a similar photograph of the menu to the Israel Advocacy Movement Facebook group suggesting “Israelis must boycott Virgin”.
The latest episode of Israel and its supporters either erasing – or appropriating as “Israeli” – Palestinian cuisine and culture https://t.co/98hEdOIk0p
— Electronic Intifada (@intifada) February 11, 2018
After a number of social media users expressed their dissatisfaction with the naming of the dish, the airline apologized for causing offence and changed it to ‘couscous salad’.
However, the dish’s name change has caused fresh controversy after some on social media questioned the airline’s decision to remove the word Palestinian.
— Justis4u (@Justis4u) January 8, 2018
A number of Twitter user expressed their anger at the change of wording, and asked why Virgin Atlantic thought the word Palestinian was offensive.
Virgin Atlantic told the BBC the airline chose to name the dish Palestinian couscous salad as the main ingredient, maftoul, is not widely-known.
It’s maftoul and it’s Palestinian!! https://t.co/U0lMIz8hZg
— Terra Sancta Wines (@TerraSanctaCo) February 13, 2018
Maftoul is often referred to as Palestinian couscous and is made from sun-dried bulgur wheat.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “We’d like to reassure all customers that our sole intention was to bring new flavors onboard, and never to cause offence through the naming or renaming of the dish.”
(BBC, PC, Social Media)