Royal Jordanian airlines have made a bit of a thing of politically savvy advertising recently. Their wry commentary on western political issues have raised the profile of their brand, without ever pushing themselves too aggressively, or straying into dangerous territory.
Perhaps that’s what Pizza Hut Israel thought they were doing when on Monday they posted this ad:
The scene is a still from a video released by the Israel Prison Service that purports to show Palestinian prisoner - and hunger strike leader - Marwan Barghouti secretly snacking in his cell. The Hebrew label superimposed on the picture reads, “Barghouti, if you’re breaking your strike, is it not better with pizza?”
Barghouti has been leading a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The prisoners are demanding an end to detention without trial and more family visits, amongst other things.
On Sunday the Israeli authorities footage from a hidden camera that they say shows Barghouti breaking his strike on two occasions:
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israelis had been mocking Barghouti’s snack choice on social media after the footage emerged:
It may have been with the intention of tapping into this sentiment that Pizza Hut posted their ad. (It appears to have been deleted from Facebook since.) Palestinians and their supporters, however, were not pleased, and quickly launched a call for a Pizza Hut boycott:
Yes I support #boycott_pizzahut , you can not make jokes about hunger strike!! It's not funny!!— Lamia Abdulrhman (@Lma_30) May 9, 2017
Israel is the target of a world-wide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to use commercial pressure to have Israel halt what activists say are its institutional human rights abuses.
Barghouti’s son, Aarab, told Newsweek that, "we want the hashtag to go viral."
"We're really disappointed that a global chain does such a disgusting act, and we'll keep going with this until they at least officially apologize for that. We're going to have BDS help us spread the word."
Perhaps pizza and politics just don’t mix.
UPDATE: Pizza Hut have apologised for the post, saying that it, "was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of our brand." Read the full apology here:
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