Belgium’s National Airline Folds to Palestinian Pressure, Removes West Bank-Made Israeli Halva Snack From In-Flight Menu
Brussels Airlines, Belgium’s national carrier, recently removed an Israeli halva snack from its in-flight dessert menu because it is produced in the West Bank, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the halva product in question — a 100-gram vanilla flavor bar — is made by the Achva company in the Barkan Industrial Zone near Ariel in Samaria.
The Ynet report said Brussels Airlines acquiesced to a demand by an anti-Israel Palestinian solidarity group to no longer serve the product to its passengers due to its origin in the “occupied West Bank.” The group was reportedly notified about the product by a passenger on one of the carrier’s flights between Tel Aviv and Brussels.
In response to the report, Brussels Airlines called the product’s origin “controversial” and said it had been added to the menu of flights on the Tel Aviv-Brussels route by a local catering company in a move not coordinated with the airline.
In a series of tweets, the airline said, “We have stopped serving that product on our flights, as it was not what we had ordered, it was a mistake by our supplier. We’re an airline, catering to a large international audience, it’s our responsibility to offer products that please all.”
Later on Wednesday, a Brussels Airlines spokesperson told Jewish Agency spokeman Avi Mayer, “Brussels Airlines is not boycotting Israeli products.”
Mayer later tweeted a more in-depth statement from Brussels Airlines, which said, “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). It is our only destination in the Middle East and it was the fastest growing airline in Israel last year (+40% 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.”
Yaakov Malach, the owner of the Achva factory in the Barkan Industrial Zone, told Ynet, “At our factory, it’s an ingathering of the exiles. Our workers are Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, Jews, Samaritans and settlers. Peace will come from here, not from airlines. Peace will come from places where people work shoulder to shoulder. This is true coexistence.”