As soon as Virgin Atlantic Airlines introduced a couscous-style salad “inspired by the flavours of Palestine”, a controversy ensued. Israel’s supporters ignited a social media storm and sent many complaints to the company, obliging the airline to remove the reference to Palestine.
In the Zionist narrative, Palestine does not exist – nor is it allowed to exist – even if merely as a cultural conception.
The sad irony is that, while Israel appropriated Palestinian-Arabic couscous (the Palestinian dish, in particular, is known as ‘maftoul‘), branding and marketing it in western countries as ‘Israeli couscous’, its supporters go to every extent possible to erase any reference that may validate Palestinian Arab culture, whether Muslim or Christian.
This is an old habit, an endemic practice that dates back to the destruction of nearly 600 Palestinian villages and localities in 1947-48. Palestinians refer to these earth-shattering events as the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. Tellingly, Israel outlaws the use of the term or the commemoration of the tragic event in any way.
From claiming Palestinian Arab culinary culture as their own, to ‘Judaized’ Arabic street names to rewriting history, Israel and its supporters are relentless.
Israel fears a Palestinian narrative because the Israeli government understands, and rightly so, that it is the collective Palestinian narrative that has compelled resistance, in all of its forms, for over 70 years.