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July 24, 2013 2:38 pm

EXCLUSIVE: NYC’s De Blasio Formally Calls on Transit Authorities to Ban Saudi Arabian Airlines for Discrimination Against Israelis

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Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747-468 . Photo: Wikipedia.

New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is ratcheting up pressure on Saudi Arabian Airlines after the airline rejected his office’s demand to alter its policy discriminating against Israeli citizens attempting to fly the airline out of the U.S.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the heads of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, De Blasio urged them “to take necessary steps to bar Saudi Arabian Airlines from operating at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, respectively, if the airline does not immediately end its discrimination against Israeli passengers on the basis of national origin.”

Following a probe of the airline that revealed Saudi Arabian airlines would not allow Israeli citizens to fly out of JFK, De Blasio said he would take steps to exclude it from the American market if it did not change its policy.

In his letter sent Wednesday, De Blasio said that because the airline conducts business in New York and Washington D.C. “it is subject to all relevant local, state and federal laws. Moreover, according to Article 4 of the United States-Saudi Arabia Air Transport agreement signed May 28, 2013, airline permissions may be revoked, suspended or limited if the airline has ‘failed to comply with the laws’ of the United States.”

He further added: “Accordingly, as the principal holders of the leases that authorize SAA to operate out of JFK’s Terminal 1 and Dulles’ Main Terminal, I ask that the Port Authority and MWAA take immediate steps to ensure that all nationalities are able to purchase tickets for flights on Saudi Arabian Airlines and take necessary steps to revoke SAA’s permission to operate at JFK and Dulles if corrective action is not taken by the airline.”

In response to his initial probe, Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General Khalid Abdullah Almolhem said that the state-owned company’s anti-Israeli passenger policy is due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries and would not be modified.

“If there is an absence of political relations between [Saudi Arabia] and any other country, we will not allow that country’s citizens into the kingdom,” Melhem told Saudi’s Al-Watan newspaper, in a report published on Saturday.

A copy of De Blasio’s letter sent on Wednesday is reproduced exclusively by The Algemeiner below.

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  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    With SAUDI SARS or MERS Middle East Respritory Sickness on the increase and the coming of Mecca Pilgrimage, I wouldn’t travel on SAA at all. I would strongly advise others not to do so either. Check out Voice of Russia yesterday, and BBC WHO health May. The MERS virus is more virulent than any of the other viruses of this type and there have been deaths. It is prevalent among Muslim communities, so SAA are doing us all a favor.

  • BlueShadowII

    I’m still wondering why any Israeli would want to fly SAA.

    • Lynne T

      Possibly because some do do business with Gulf state entitities who themselves do not boycott Israelis, but the point really, is denying the Saudis the privilege of carrying on business in the US while floating American laws that prohibit such conduct.

      Frankly, I’d also applaud any activities that go after the Saudis for their discriminatory treatment of women, religious minorities and exporting fundamentalist Sunni religious extremism.

  • My sincerest thanks to the DeBlausio family for
    standing up to injustice to Israelis and the Jewish
    people. Something of this nature happened with
    Delta, and I remember how other Airlines showed their
    support for their Jewish customers. I will pass this
    along to my friends and family who fly to Israel.

    • Mel

      By insisting the rule of law in the United States be enforced, the New York Public Advocate is merely performing his duty. Nobody can stop you from inferring anything you wish, but publicly thanking an official for displaying integrity in the middle of a den of iniquity (although well-intended) is insulting at best.

      • Gee

        Mel – maybe having a government official that actually does perform his duty these days is exceptional.

        In the long run – more government officials might be induced to do the same

  • R


    anything else you need to know about them? They hate Jews….and they hate Americans.

    They one of our “partners in peace”. Yeah, right.

    Don’t turn your back when you’re dealing with them.

  • The foundational antisemitism of Islam as demonstrated by Muhammad PERSONALLY decapitating 900 UNARMED Jews in 627 of the Banu Quarayza tribe is what determines the Saudi policy.Killing, humiliating and banning Jews is foundational to Islam and to Saudi policy.

  • lawrence kulak

    somebody made an astute comment to me yesterday that i think reflects upon this story. Why is it that just when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood suffers a major setback in the form of coup that John Kerry attempts to activate once again the so call peace process in Israel? Consistent with that move seemingly is the fact that the U.S. issues so many visas to Saudi Arabian students before and after 9/11 and has full diplomatic relations with the Kingdom. Is this any way to treat a suppossed ally (Israel) that is not even given recognition by those desert despots? Now we can see the hidden hand of G-d in that 9/11 was a punishment for the U.S. for given such priority to Saudis for visas while an Israeli cannot even fly that country’s ariline out of the USA. Anybody listening at the State Department?

    • Pam

      Similarly, it’s only since Morsi was deposed that the Pentagon decides to delay the shipment of military equipment. That’s definitely taking sides in the domestic politics of Egypt. I’m sure the Egyptian military could have put those planes to good use over Gaza.

    • No Lawrence, the idea that 9/11 was “the hand of G-d” punishing the US for its anti-Israel /pro-Saudi policies is not correct.

      Those reprehensible policies do exist in many official government agencies – especially under the current Administration. However, justice would demand that the guilty get punished, not the innocent – so 9/11 was not the “hand of G-d” but the hands of 19 Saudi Arabian murderers.