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November 17, 2017 1:10 pm

German Court Rules in Favor of Discrimination Against Israelis by Kuwait Airways

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A Kuwait Airways Boeing 777. Photo: Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons. – A district court in Frankfurt, Germany, has ruled in favor of Kuwait Airways in a discrimination case brought by an Israeli passenger who was barred from boarding his flight due to his nationality.

In its ruling, the Frankfurt court noted that Kuwait bans all of its citizens and companies from doing business with Israelis. The court stated that while it didn’t evaluate whether “this law makes sense,” the airline would have risked repercussions that were “not reasonable” — such as such as fines or prison time for employees — for violating the Kuwaiti statute, The Associated Press reported.

For some time, Kuwait Airways has been under intense legal and public pressure over its practice of barring Israelis. Last month, German Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt ordered his ministry to investigate whether the airline’s current policy violates air traffic laws.

In 2016, Kuwait Airways halted its inter-European flights as well as its route between New York and London rather than allowing Israeli citizens to fly on the airline, after facing legal threats in the US and Switzerland.

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The Lawfare Project, a US-based nonprofit that is providing legal assistance to the Israelis who were banned from traveling, called the Frankfurt court’s ruling an obvious instance of antisemitism.

“This is a clear-cut case of bigoted, antisemitic discrimination,” said Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project. “To see a Jewish person banned from exercising his freedoms in Germany in 2017 is chilling enough. To see that discrimination whitewashed and legitimized by a German judge is grotesque. By any measure, this verdict is ludicrous and we will be appealing.”

Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker also expressed disapproval of the ruling.

“To my mind, an airline that practices discrimination and antisemitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to takeoff or land in Frankfurt, or at any other airport in Germany,” he said. “This Kuwaiti law, that is deeply antisemitic and that forbids the transport of Israelis, cannot be legal grounds for the violation of international standards.”

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