Germany Pressed to Act Against Kuwait Airways Ban on Israeli Passengers

A ground crewmember takes a peek inside the cabin of a Kuwait Airways Airbus A340 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, 01 November 2006.

An anti-Semitic law that prevents Kuwait Airways from carrying Israeli passengers will be challenged by the German Foreign Ministry, a senior government official has confirmed.

Deputy German foreign minister Michael Roth said that Germany’s ambassador has been asked to raise the issue with Kuwaiti government authorities as a matter of urgency. The move comes after a German court ruled last Thursday that Kuwait’s national airline didn’t have to transport an Israeli passport holder from Frankfurt to Bangkok because the carrier would face legal repercussions at home if it did.

The Frankfurt state court noted in its judgement that Kuwait Airways is not allowed to have contracts with Israelis due to a piece of 1964 legislation which prohibits agreements between the two nations and precludes recognition of Israel, as reported in AP. Nineteen of the 21 Arab League members don’t fully recognise the Israeli state, with the exceptions of neighbouring Jordan and Egypt.

Roth said: “It is incomprehensible to me that in today’s Germany a passenger cannot board a plane simply because of his nationality.”

As reported in Die Welt last week, German law covers discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion, but not nationality.

The German law stipulates from 2006:

With effect as of 18th August 2006 the German General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) came into force. Objective of the law is to provide comprehensive protection against discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The ruling angered Jewish groups and others, who argued that it condoned anti-Semitism. The Lawfare Project, the legal group that represented the plaintiff in the case, has vowed to add its weight to any appeal against the ruling.

“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,” said the group’s executive director, Brooke Goldstein.

Breitbart News previously reported that Kuwait Airways ended flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow in 2015 after U.S. authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) in September sent a letter to the airline warning it to end what it said amounted to discrimination.

The U.S. decision came after after a Kuwait Airways’ agent would not sell a ticket to Israeli citizen Eldad Gatt in 2013. The airline’s booking system said his country of origin – Israel –  did not exist.

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