Dutch Airline KLM Discriminated When It Asked Woman to Move for Orthodox Man, Watchdog Finds

The report noted that the Orthodox man was not held accountable for his actions.
July 24, 2020
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Dutch human rights board found the national airline KLM guilty of discriminating against a woman who was moved from her seat because an Orthodox Jewish man wouldn’t sit near her.

The Human Rights College, a watchdog organization whose members are appointed by the king, made the ruling Thursday in a review of an incident from May 2019 aboard an airplane traveling from New York to Amsterdam, the AD news site reported.

KLM “made a gender discrimination against the couple by failing to provide a discrimination-free environment during a flight.”

Ronald van Raak, a lawmaker for the Socialist Party, submitted a complaint to the College after his wife was bumped from her seat because of the protestations of an Orthodox passenger who said he did not want to sit next to a woman. (This scenario arises from time to time on flights, where people usually do not have discretion over where they sit.)

KLM cabin crew asked the van Raaks to “cooperate in solving this problem” in order to “make the boarding process as smooth as possible,” the rights board said. “However, the Orthodox Jewish man was not held accountable for his behavior, nor was it made clear to him that there were discriminatory aspects,” it ruled, adding: “Also, the Orthodox Jewish man or company he was part of was not asked to cooperate in solving the seating problem.”

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

The Arrival of the Zombie Apocalypse

When a society is sick, growing numbers of people can only find the sense of meaning and belonging they need in a group, or movement, that claims to have all the answers for their problems.

Is it Antisemitic to Celebrate 10/7?

President Biden’s position is consistent with the definition of antisemitism that has been adopted by the 33 countries belonging to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Noa Argamani’s Secret Annex

Like Anne, Noa was secreted away in an apartment while a war raged outside, unsure if she would ever again be allowed to walk free.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.