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August 25, 2016 1:49 pm

Social Media Lights Up With Criticism of ‘Racist’ Brussels Airlines for Removing Israeli Snack From In-Flight Menu

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Brussels Airlines has come under fire for removing an Israeli-made halva snack from its in-flight menu. Photo: Achva.

Brussels Airlines has come under fire for removing an Israeli-made halva snack from its in-flight menu. Photo: Achva.

Social media platforms lit up in protest on Wednesday and Thursday after a Belgian airline removed an Israeli snack from its in-flight menu, with many urging what they called a “counter-boycott.” 

One Twitter user wrote that she was “glad” to read the news of Brussels Airlines’ move before booking her trip to Israel. “I’ll never ever fly with your company,” she wrote.  

Another posted a photo of a “Miles & More” frequent traveler card from partner airline Lufthansa that he sliced up:

Home design expert and television personality Shai DeLuca-Tamasi tweeted that he had cancelled four tickets he booked through the airline for a family vacation.

Many accused Brussels Airlines of hypocrisy, antisemitism and discrimination.

Twitter user who identified himself as an “Arab living in Europe” slammed the “vile antisemitic act,” expressing “total shock” that Brussels Airlines was the one committing it.

Eugene Kontorovich, an expert on constitutional and international law, hit back at reports that the airline removed the halva bar because it is produced in the “occupied West Bank,” by calling attention to the behavior of Brussels Airlines’ shareholder ING Nederland:

He later issued a correction that “it is halva not hummus.”

Sarcastically responding to the company’s defense that the move was initiated because it is an airline “catering to a large international audience [and] it’s our responsibility to offer products that please all,” Israel advocacy group Sussex Friends of Israel wrote:

Overnight, a “Boycott Brussels Airlines” Facebook page was created, calling on “Jews and Christian Zionists [who] love Israel” to stand up in defense of the Jewish state. “If Brussels Airlines boycotts Israeli products, we will not fly Brussels Airlines,” a description on the page reads.

Users flooded the Brussels Airlines Facebook page, with comments slamming the airline’s “stupid decision,” with some characterizing the company as “scumbag racists” who “discriminate against Israelis and Jews.”

One user branded the company’s decision as a form of “new antisemitism,” while another said he “will not fly Brussels again until they take a clear stance to disassociate themselves from hate groups like BDS. Leave politics out of airline meals!”

One post called the airline an “apartheid company” and compared its policies to those of the Nazi regime.

Another post threatened that the company’s “attempt to demonize Israel will not go unpunished,” adding that its boycott is hypocritical, since the airline most likely uses Israeli-made technology in its systems.

As reported by The Algemeiner on Wednesday, Belgium’s national carrier made the decision to remove the halva snack from its menu offerings because it is made in the Barkan Industrial Zone near Ariel in the Samaria region of the West Bank.

According to reports, an anti-Israel organization was notified of the presence of the product by a passenger flying between Tel Aviv and Brussels, and subsequently pressured the airline to remove the snack.

In a statement, Brussels Airlines called the origin of the halva “controversial,” saying it was added to the menu without approval from the airline by a local catering company. “We have stopped serving that product on our flights, as it was not what we had ordered, it was a mistake by our supplier,” the airline wrote on Twitter.

Following intense backlash, the airline later issued a longer statement, saying it was not engaging in a boycott of Israel.

“Brussels Airlines has been flying to Israel for 13 years, and we have never ceased to do so, not even during the conflict of two years ago (only one flight cancelled during that period),” the statement read. “It is our only destination in the Middle East and it was the fastest growing airline in Israel last year (+40 percent passengers). We are there to stay, and we offer many Israeli products on board our flights, which we choose sovereignly. We do not mix in political discussions and stay neutral.”

Firing back at the airline, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin issued sharp criticism, saying the “invalid decision… places a black flag of shame on the tails of the company’s planes,” adding, “Such a company has no place in the skies of the state of Israel and its name should be erased from the flight billboard at Ben-Gurion Airport.”

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  • Ariel Ariel

    Just booked Bru-Tlv… with Elal ; ) my fam. friends and company will try to avoid flying with Brussels Airlines whenever we can.

  • howard schaerf esq.

    Even the ”PISS” statue is shamed by the anti-Israel food ban!

  • nat cheiman

    Brussels deserves the islamist attacks. So does France, Germany and Europe. The beginning of their end is close.
    Tourism is falling and will continue to fall. Europe and Islam will be one

  • Good for the people who have highlighted this action. It will soon be illegal in the UK for local authorities to operate boycotts of this kind. No doubt the Belgian airline receives Belgian government funding, which should be removed. They always pretend, by the way that they are not operating a boycott. The Cooperative Movement in the UK operates a boycott of Israeli food, claiming it *might* have come from the settlements and has had the nerve to circulate a document claiming that “it is not a boycott”. If you investigate, you will always find that there are just one or two people behind the boycott, no one else could care less. It is important to “out” such people and expose them for what they are – antisemites and racists. Like their compatriot Léon Degrelle.

  • richard sherwin

    what do you want / or expect/ from Brussels. theyre scared out of their taste buds, let alone what mind they may have had before the Eurocrats bought up the city, the country, and began living tax free off of Europe. it’s a failed state obviously, about the only moslem contribution to civilization in the west — can’t do much good, but they sure know how to ruin things. all in the name of islamist love, too. not a bad boondoggle. who’s the next eurostate to fail?

  • Susan Spira

    The irony is no one paid attention to the ironic name of this banned item “Achva” meaning fraternity, brotherhood, or companionship.

  • Zucker

    Sign of the times. Suggest an in-flight cocktail : A quart stupidity, a quart ignorance, a quart prejudice, a quart incompetence. No need to shake or stir: it all blends immediately.
    Serve with a dash of convulted explanations.

    If your travelling coach do not hesitate to strech ….plenty of empty seats !

  • diane

    Well said about maybe banding that and other airlines that want to be antisemitic, maybe they rather lose money, do they think that there’s only one airline. Hello there’s plenty that will like to stay in business and not lose customers.

  • ART

    It is truly amazing that any/all steps to “normalize” relations between Israel the pa and arab countries is vilified Normally such acts would be commended. Such acts are elsewhere hailed as peace making moves as “hands across the borders” Yet when Israelis do it it is condemned. By the way these people should read the Oslo accords where the normalization of relations is an obligation, as it is with the Camp David accords with egypt.

  • bruceps

    New York recently legislated that BDS activities were illegal and companies doing so were to be banned from the state; similarly, Mayor DiBlasio declared these activities to be “inimical to progressive ideals”. How about some muscle and banning any flight by this airline from JFK and Kennedy for starters.

  • Lia

    You are right, Yaakov. I’ll not fly Brussels again.

  • oneachvaiznotenuf

    How about a nice compromise? The ACHVA halva pieces will be covered with Godiva chocolate and the labels will be printed in Tahitian so no one will know where its from.

  • zg

    I will not fly with them either, unless they remove this Israel Boycott.

  • This whole campaign against Brussels Airlines is filled with hate. “Cui prodest?” To whom does the crime profit? Isn’t El Al more than happy about all this?

    If Brussels Airlines is boycotted for obscure reasons, El Al should also be banned from flying to Belgium, or to the whole EU!

    • What a totally stupid comment you have made.
      Did El Al tell Brussels Airlines to remove the item ?
      Brussels Airlines can undo the insiduous move by El Al – put the Halva back on the menu.

  • Yaakov

    When a company uses a date term that proclaims Jesus to be the Messiah, is it reasonable to expect respect?

    • zg

      are you sane? Achva means Friendship, or brotherhood, forget your Yeshua!!! He is long dead, but still taking many other Jews with him!!!