German court rules Kuwait’s national airline can refuse service to Israelis

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A German court has ruled that the Kuwaiti national airline can legally refuse to seat and fly Israeli passengers.

The case dates back to 2016, when Kuwait Airways canceled the ticket of an Israeli student who had booked a seat on a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok after realizing that he held an Israeli passport. Kuwait Airways offered to book him a seat on a different airline, but “Adar M,” as the plaintiff was known in court filings, refused the offer and sued for alleged discrimination.

Kuwait does not recognize the state of Israel, and has a law on the books barring Kuwaitis from entering “into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”

On Thursday, a court in Germany sided with the Kuwaitis — saying the company would face repercussions at home for violating national law.

The passenger’s lawyer, Nathan Gelbart, called the ruling a “shameful verdict for democracy and for Germany in general.” The Central Council on Jews in Germany likened the law to Nazi era restrictions.

The German foreign ministry said Friday morning that they will push for a change of heart by the Kuwaitis. “It is incomprehensible to me that in today’s Germany a passenger cannot board a plane simply because of his nationality,” Germany’s deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told the German daily newspaper Die Welt.

This isn’t the first time Kuwait’s stance on Israel has stranded travelers

Kuwait’s Israel-boycott law has also affected Arab-Israelis. In a viral video posted October 1, the Palestinian-Israeli Nuseir Yassin — who blogs under Nas Daily — railed against his own cancelled flight on Kuwait Airways from New York to India.

Yassin notes in the video that the Kuwaiti boycott of Israeli also discriminates against 2 million Muslim Palestinian-Israelis.

And in 2015, the US Department of Transportation forced Kuwait to drop one of their air routes from New York to London. The reason? Discriminating against Israelis, which US law prohibits.

Source – Vox


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