January 16, 2019

Kuwait Airways Agrees to Pay for Israeli Blocked From Buying Ticket

Kuwait Airways has agreed to pay an Israeli woman a “substantial” amount in damages after the airline prevented her from buying a plane ticket because she’s Israeli.

According to a press release from The Lawfare Project, the Kuwait Airways can be seen on video telling the woman, Mandy Blumenthal, “Israeli passport holders are not permitted to travel on Kuwait Airways.” Blumenthal responded by filing a lawsuit against Kuwait Airways under claims of racial discrimination and harassment.

“It is horrible to be singled out, to be told you are not allowed to do something because of who you are,” Blumenthal said in the press release. “Having someone telling me that he is following instructions, that it is a rule, a policy gave me a sinking feeling inside. In my mind, it is an anti-Semitic policy to single out the only Jewish State to boycott.”

Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein said, “It’s hard to believe that in 2018, an airline operating at Heathrow can ban passengers on no other basis than their nationality. Kuwait Airways should be made to choose: either give up your racist, anti-Semitic policy or cease operating out of Heathrow. The airline’s discriminatory policy should have no place in a free society.”

Even though Kuwait Airways is refusing to accept liability with this agreement, one of Blumenthal’s attorneys, David Berens, argued that the precedent has been set to abolish Kuwait Airways policy against providing flights to Israelis altogether.

“The law is clear: direct discrimination on grounds of nationality in the provision of a service to the public is illegal,” Berens said. “Ms. Blumenthal has done a service in showing up Kuwait Airways’ illegal policy. Kuwait Airways is now legally obliged to end this policy or end its services from the UK altogether.’”

As the Journal has previously reported, Kuwait’s government prohibits Kuwait Airways from providing flights to Israelis as part of the 1945 Arab League boycott. The United States concluded in 2015 that the airline was in violation of U.S. law with its policy against Israelis.