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May 4, 2016 10:28 pm

Legal Group Claims ‘Extraordinary Victory’ Against Israel Boycotter Kuwait Airways After Decision to Halt Inter-European Routes

avatar by Lea Speyer

Kuwait Airways closed its New York-London route after the US Transportation Department demanded that the airline stop illegally discriminating against Israelis. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia Commons.

Kuwait Airways reportedly closed its inter-European routes in a preemptive move against a lawsuit alleging discrimination against Israelis. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia Commons.

A nonprofit legal think tank is taking credit for an “extraordinary victory” against the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) after it reportedly decided to halt all of its inter-European routes allegedly due to the firm’s lawsuit against the airline for its boycott of Israel, the group said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the Lawfare Project, KAC’s decision comes a week after the firm’s Swiss counsel, Philippe Grumbach, filed criminal and civil complaints against the airline in Geneva. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Israeli national living in Switzerland who was denied a ticket from Geneva to Frankfurt, Germany.

KAC is a participant of the Arab League boycott of Israel, which the Lawfare Project says “was instituted with the stated goal of delegitimizing and bankrupting the Jewish state.” Israeli citizens are forbidden from boarding all KAC flights. In December, all KAC flights between the US and Europe were cancelled by the airline after the US Department of Transportation found the airline was “unequivocally operating in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws.”

The Lawfare Project said it planned to file similar lawsuits in Germany and France and warned the airline last week, but “KAC proactively terminated all of these routes to avoid further civil and criminal charges,” according to the statement. The legal group said the airline “was obviously aware of its acute vulnerability to judicial findings of illegality and the levying of crippling associated penalties.” 

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By cancelling these lucrative flight paths rather than admitting Israelis on KAC flights, the airline — a wholly owned instrumentality of the Kuwaiti government — is demonstrating its commitment to discrimination even while exposing itself to enormous pecuniary loss,” the statement said further.

The KAC decision is a “loud and clear message to Arab League governments and corporations that the legal and financial risks of refusing to deal with Israelis will be disproportionately painful for the boycotters.”

National origin discrimination has no place in global commerce, and these practices will be prosecuted and penalized whenever and wherever they are attempted in the Western world,” the statement added. 

While The Algemeiner was unable to independently verify the Lawfare Project’s claims by the time of publication, a search on KAC’s website shows flights within Europe are unavailable. KAC failed to immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

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