German Police Investigate After Check-In Attendant at Berlin Airport Subjects Passenger to Antisemitic Abuse
Police in Germany are investigating an incident at an airport in Berlin in which a passenger wearing a Star of David necklace was allegedly subjected to antisemitic abuse by a member of staff during check-in.
The incident took place at Berlin’s Tegel Airport last Saturday. The passenger, reported to be a 50-year-old Spanish man who lives in the German capital, was attempting to board a flight with discount airline Easyjet to the island of Menorca. At the check-in counter, he became embroiled in argument with a female attendant over additional baggage fees. The female employee is alleged to have directed antisemitic insults at the passenger in both English and Arabic, before preventing him from getting on the flight.
Easyjet said in a statement on Sunday that it was taking the incident “seriously,” but that it had not uncovered evidence of discriminatory behavior by a member of staff, according to the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper. After being prevented from traveling, the passenger immediately filed a complaint. Federal police are now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Growing concern over antisemitism in Germany was underlined last week in figures on hate crimes compiled by the Interior Ministry, which revealed that an average of four antisemitic incidents had been reported every day since 2001 — and that many more go unreported. The sobering statistic emerged during a week of media headlines concerning two separate antisemitic assaults, both involving rabbis and their families leaving synagogues following Shabbat services.
In one incident, Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal was set upon by two men while walking with his son; they insulted him in Arabic and then spat at him. In the other incident, in the south German city of Munich, a local rabbi and his two sons were abused as “Sh_t Jews” and spat upon by a man and woman.