Kuwait airways’ ‘racist’ policy against Israelis ‘hangs in the balance’

Kuwait airways’ ‘racist’ policy against Israelis ‘hangs in the balance’

Jewish representatives speak after German court hears appeal against allegedly discriminatory policies of company

Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways

Jewish representatives said this week that “justice hangs in the balance” after a German court heard an appeal against an alleged “racist policy” of Kuwait Airways.

The High Court of Hesse heard an appeal against a previous Frankfurt court ruling on the airline’s policy of not accepting Israeli passengers, in accordance with Kuwaiti law. Judges will deliver a verdict on 25 September.

It is the latest twist in a legal case prompted after an Israeli student sought to board a Kuwait Airways flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok in 2016, but was prohibited from taking their seat because a Kuwaiti law bans all citizens and companies from doing business with Israelis. The two countries have no diplomatic relations.

If judges agree and rule against Kuwait Airways, it could jeopardise the airline’s ability to operate in Germany, because German air transportation law requires every air carrier to transport any passenger with valid ticket.

“Justice hangs in the balance,” said Brooke Goldstein, director of the US-based Lawfare Project, whose lawyers have supported the Israeli plaintiff.

“If the German court again finds in favour of Kuwait Airways it will be providing cover for the racial purity laws of a foreign dictatorship, which is all the more disturbing given Germany’s dark past with such laws.”

She added that the airline “should be given an ultimatum – either cease its anti-Semitic, unlawful practice or cease operating in Germany”.

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