North America

Virgin Atlantic ignites 'Palestinian couscous' storm

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 preparing for take off from Gatwick Airport, West Sussex, as Virgin Atlantic. Source: AAP

Virgin Atlantic is at the centre of a social media storm after removing the description of one of its in-flight meals named the 'Palestinian couscous salad'.

Virgin Atlantic removing "Palestinian" from a description of a dish on its in-flight menu has landed the airline in the middle of a social media uproar.

Pro-Israel social media users complained about Virgin Atlantic's "Palestinian couscous salad", which was described as "a salad inspired by the flavours of Palestine".

The dish features maftoul, a traditional staple in Palestinian food similar to couscous.

Virgin Atlantic told the BBC it decided to name the dish "Palestinian couscous salad" because maftoul is not widely known.

The former Virgin Atlantic menu featuring Palestinian couscous salad.
The former Virgin Atlantic menu featuring Palestinian couscous salad.
Twitter: Thedaniwilliams

Twitter user Dani Williams posted a photo of the menu back in December 2017 writing: "#virginatlantic this is the menu I received yesterday nothing like some BDS and delusionment [sic] with your salad, last time you get my money #TerroristSympathisers."

Following the Twitter post, a Facebook user posted the photo to the Israel Advocacy Movement Facebook Group claiming: "Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation."

The Facebook post has since been deleted.

Others tweeted couscous was not Palestinian but North African.

Following social media outrage over the dish, Virgin Atlantic removed the word "Palestinian" and a Virgin spokesperson told the BBC: "We'd like to reassure all customers that our sole intention was to bring new flavours onboard, and never to cause offence through the naming or renaming of the dish."

Since the apology, Virgin Atlantic has found itself in the middle of a social media storm as others have questioned why the word "Palestinian" was offensive.

The modern state of Israel was created in 1947 after the United Nations voted to split what was known as British Palestine.

Both the Israelis and Palestinians have had a centuries-old claim to the land.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has endorsed a 'two-state solution' as the best way forward for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Many countries have reiterated their support for a two-state solution, including Australia.