Belgian Airline Backtracks on Settlement Halva Ban

(JTA) — Belgium’s biggest airline said it would resume serving a West Bank-produced halva snack, one week after pulling the sesame treat from its flights following complaints by a group that supports the boycott movement against Israel.

While Brussels Airlines said last week it did not order the halva and the snack was served on its flight by mistake, the airline now called the food manufacturer Achva “one of our trustful suppliers” in a statement to the Israeli Foreign Ministry quoted by The Times of Israel.

“It is clear that Achva remains one of our trustful suppliers and without any distinction related to the origin of the product, and therefore we will continue to accept Achva’s products on board our flights, especially given its positive role in the community,” the Brussels Airlines statement read.

Achva is located in the Barkan Industrial Park near the city of Ariel in the northern West Bank.

The change came about through “the quick work of the Foreign Ministry, at the direction of Dore Gold, the deputy head of public advocacy and the advocacy unit, and our embassies in Brussels and Berlin,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Last week, Brussels Airlines stopped serving its passengers the halva snack following complaints by the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. A passenger had alerted the group about the snack.

“We’re an airline catering to a large international audience, it’s our responsibility to offer products that please all,” the airline said in its earlier statement on pulling the halva. “Therefore, we decided to take the halva bars off the menu and replace it with another product.”

La
st year, the European Union adopted rules that require clear labeling for products made in West Bank settlements.

Author

Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at dolsten@forward.com and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.

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Belgian Airline Backtracks on Settlement Halva Ban

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