Belgium’s largest airline quits serving West Bank-produced halva


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Belgium’s largest airline has stopped serving its passengers a halva snack made in the West Bank following complaints by a group that supports the BDS movement against Israel.

Brussels Airlines called the snacks “controversial,” the Hebrew-language Ynet news website reported. The vanilla-flavored halva sesame snacks are manufactured by the Israeli food company Achva, located in the Barkan Industrial Park near the city of Ariel in the northern West Bank.

The Palestine Solidarity Movement, a proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, had complained to the airline after being alerted about the snack by a passenger.

The bars were served in vegetarian meals on the Tel Aviv to Brussels route.

In a statement to Ynet, the airline said the halva bars were not what it had ordered from the Israeli catering service.

“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 statement. “Therefore, we decided to take the halva bars off the menu and replace it with another product.”

The Palestinian Solidarity Movement said in a statement, according to Ynet, that many companies are unaware of the origin of the products they buy in Israel.

“The Belgian Foreign Ministry needs to take action and ensure that no products from Jewish settlements” are purchased by national companies,” the statement said.

Achva factory owner Yaakov Malach told Ynet that his factory represents true coexistence, where there are Jewish- and Arab-Israeli and Palestinian employees.

“Peace comes from here and not from airlines,” Malach said. “Peace is here, where people work side by side.”

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