Delta apologizes after official X account says ‘I’d be terrified’ of employees with Palestinian flag pins

July 11, 2024
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Delta Airlines apologized on Thursday after the company’s X account sympathized with a post that incorrectly said two flight attendants with Palestinian flag pins were wearing “Hamas badges.”

An X user by the handle “ilikeTeslas” had tweeted Tuesday: “Since 2001 we take our shoes off in every airport because a terrorist attack in US soil. Now imagine getting into a @Delta flight and seeing workers with Hamas badges in the air. What do you do?” 

“I hear you as I’d be terrified as well, personally,” the Delta Air Lines X account replied Wednesday. “Our employees reflect our culture and we do not take it lightly when our policy is not being followed,” the tweet continued.

That response was later deleted.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization, slammed the airline for the “racist anti-Palestinian tweet” and demanded an apology, and a better education of staffers. 

On Thursday, Delta said in a statement to NBC News it “removed a mistakenly posted comment on X Wednesday because it was not in line with our values and our mission to connect the world.”

“The team member responsible for the post has been counseled and no longer supports Delta’s social channels. We apologize for this error,” the company added.

CAIR said that the tweet was harmful as it agreed with the original tweet’s false claim that a “Palestinian flag pin worn by a flight attendant was a ‘Hamas badge.’” 

The Palestinian flag — a tricolor banner of black, white and green stripes with a red triangle on the left hand side — represents the Palestinian people. Hamas, an Islamist militant organization, has their own unique flag of a green background with white writing of the Shahada, an Islamic statement of faith, according to the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism

“Whether this racist post on Delta’s X account was approved or unauthorized, Delta must apologize and take steps to educate its employees about this type of dangerous anti-Palestinian racism,” CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement. 

“Bigotry against Palestinian-Americans is absolutely out of control in workplaces and at schools — and it must stop,” he added.

Delta said the photos included in that original tweet depicted flight attendants on separate flights on different days, but declined to share specific flight details. 

Neither of those flight attendants have been fired as a result of wearing the pins, the airline said, adding: “We’re in touch with the flight attendants to offer support.”

The tweet sparked outrage on X. Dr. Omar Suleiman, a Palestinian American Imam and the president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, wrote: “These airlines won’t learn until you stop giving them business @Delta #BoycottDelta.”

“I hear you? What’s the Palestinians got to do with 9/11? Isn’t the whole screenshot the perfect encapsulation of real racism and Islamophobia? Pathetic really. Only in America,” another X user wrote. 

“As a Palestinian American, I will make a point to #BoycottDelta because of your racism and devaluation of Palestinian lives and rights,” another wrote.

The Palestinian flag has become a symbol of solidarity for the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Israel-Hamas war.

In the war, more than 38,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and over 1,200 were killed in Israel during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, including soldiers and civilians.

The ongoing Israeli strikes in Gaza have led to a humanitarian crisis with up to 1.9 million people across the Gaza Strip internally displaced — including some who have been repeatedly displaced nine or 10 times, according to the United Nations Relief and Works agency.

The war that has led to demonstrations around the world, including the U.S., with protests breaking out on college campuses and spikes in reported antisemitic and anti-Arab and Islamophobic incidents.


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