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Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Lawfare Project Opens New Anti-Semitism Case Against Kuwait Airways

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Erin Ben-Moche
Erin is the Digital Content Manager at the Jewish Journal. She writes about Jewish art and culture.

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The Lawfare Project, a non-profit legal litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities worldwide, has filed a new case May 13 against Kuwait Airways in Germany, over the airline’s policy of anti-Semitic discrimination.

A Frankfurt-based Israeli businessman, known as Shmuel M in the case, booked a flight from Munich to Sri Lanka in November 2018 and was denied the right to travel because of his Israeli passport.

When Shmuel M asked about the availability of kosher food on the flight the airline asked whether he held an Israeli passport. When he said he did, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to travel and would need to speak with the airline’s lawyers for further information.

According to The Lawfare Project, this is the second time they have represented Israelis barred from traveling in Germany by Kuwait Airways. A previous case from 2017 involved the same discriminatory policy in Germany and remains under review by Germany’s Constitutional High Court.

“Time and again Kuwait Airways has shown itself to be a bigoted airline with a bigoted policy that should have no place in a modern liberal democracy. An airline that kicks Israelis off planes should be kicked out of Germany,” Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, the legal think tank and litigation fund representing the plaintiff, said in a statement to the Journal. “When a Jewish passenger is denied the right to travel after requesting a kosher meal, in Germany of all places, then anyone who respects the values of equality, fairness, and the rule of law should be appalled.”

Kuwait Airways has previously justified its racist discrimination by citing a Kuwaiti law that is decades old which bans all Kuwaiti citizens and companies from doing any business with citizens of the Jewish state.

“If Kuwait Airways wishes to continue operating in Germany then the message should be clear: carry everyone or carry no one,” Lawfare Project’s German Counsel representative Nathan Gelbart said in a statement. “There can be no discrimination against Jews on German soil. As long as we permit an airline to advertise flights for everyone except Israelis it is a stain on the moral fabric of our country.”

The Lawfare Project in the past pressured Kuwait Airways in the U.S. and Switzerland which led to the airline canceling its NYC-London flights, and all its inter-European flights, rather than deal with its discriminatory practices.

The case has been filed at the Landshut District Court, which has jurisdiction over Munich International Airport. Kuwait Airways has yet to reply to the claims listed.

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