An appeal has been launched against a German court which ruled in favour of Kuwait Airways’ policy of banning Israeli passengers.
The challenge has been submitted by the German counsel for the U.S-based organisation The Lawfare Project, a group challenging discrimination against Jews and Israelis.
This comes after a Frankfurt District Court ruled in favour of the state-backed airline in a case brought by an Israeli passenger, who was last year barred from flying from Frankfurt to Bangkok because of his nationality.
Kuwait bans all its citizens and companies from doing any business with Israel or Israelis and the airline enforces the policy strictly. It appeared to have won the case in Germany because it offers to pay for Israelis to fly on another airline.
German Foreign Ministry State Secretary, Michael Roth, described it as “incomprehensible” and State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Christian Lange, wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel asking her to “ensure that the landing rights of Kuwait Airways in Germany are immediately withdrawn.” Acting Minister of Transport, Christian Schmidt, wrote to the Kuwaiti Minister of Labour, Economics and Social Affairs, Hind Al-Sabeeh, saying it is “fundamentally unacceptable to exclude citizens because of their nationality”.
After submitting the appeal, Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project commented said “it has been encouraging, however, to see the level of outrage he has caused in Germany among decent people who will not let this injustice stand.”
Nathan Gelbart, The Lawfare Project’s German counsel who is representing the Israeli passenger said: “The Frankfurt District Court’s verdict has allowed anti-Semitic discrimination to be imported into our country and helped whitewash and sanitize it. We cannot allow our laws to be subverted by the state-sponsored racism of other nations.”
The Gulf kingdom, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, has long sought to defend its policies. In 2016, the airline ended flights between European cities following lawsuits filed against it in Switzerland on behalf of an Israeli who was denied a ticket, while in 2015 it dropped its route from New York to London after the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered it to stop discriminating against Israelis.
The airline went viral when Nas Daily, an Israeli-Arab social media star, posted a video on Facebook of him being banned from boarding the plane from New York to India. The video got 700,000 views, with German Green Party politician Volker Beck saying: “Stop the discrimination or stop doing business in Germany.”