Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Protest prompts Brussels Airlines to return Israeli snack to menu

Ilan Gattegno, "Protest prompts Brussels Airlines to return Israeli snack to menu," israelhayom.com

Belgian carrier's decision to boot Achva brand halva off menu over pressure by BDS group sparks controversy • Airline's CEO pledges to keep featuring Israeli products on menus • Foreign Ministry attributes decision to "successful public diplomacy effort.

Image from article, with caption:The Achva brand halva snack

Brussels Airlines announced Monday that it will reintroduce a popular Israeli snack to its menu. The item was removed from the Belgian carrier's in-flight dessert options in July following pressure by a Palestinian group associated with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The airline had allegedly decided to take the Achva brand halva, an Israeli sesame snack, produced in a factory located in the Barkan Industrial Park in Judea and Samaria, off its menu following pressure from the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a group that often encourages the boycott of Israeli products.

The company denied allegations suggesting it was actively boycotting Israeli products, saying the decision regarding the halva dessert "was in no way a boycott, but rather a case of a mistaken order on the part of the caterer for a product we did not request."

Israeli Ambassador to Belgium Simona Frankel met Monday with Brussels Airlines CEO Bernard Gustin, who assured her the airline had no political agenda and that it will continue to feature Israeli products on its menus, including those produced by Achva.

The Foreign Ministry had also contacted the airline on the issue, and following what was described as a "successful public diplomacy effort," it was decided the sesame snack will once again be featured on the Brussels Airlines menu.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin welcomed the decision, saying it was proof that "when Israelis and the Jews in the Diaspora join forces they can thwart any attempt to undermine and hurt Israel."

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, also welcomed the decision.

"We must never cower before BDS efforts or anyone else trying to undercut the State of Israel," he said. "I would like to invite Brussels Airlines executives to tour Judea and Samaria, so they can see with their own eyes the coexistence we have in Judea and Samaria."

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