A Gulf airline can now continue to advertise flights from Germany “for everyone except Israelis” after a Frankfurt court dismissed an appeal claim in a long-running row.
Judges rejected the appeal against Kuwait Airways’ policy of barring Israelis from flying on its planes after an Israeli student studying in Germany was refused his paid-for seat on a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok in 2016 for reasons of his nationality.
Legal representatives for the student were angered after High Court of Hesse upheld last year’s ruling in favour of the airline, in part because the student would not have been able to leave the first plane in Kuwait for the connection flight to Bangkok.
“It is hard for me to accept that this airline may continue to advertise flights from Germany to Bangkok for everyone except Israelis, especially given the High Court classifies this action as discriminatory and illegal,” said lawyer Nathan Gelbart.
German politicians must now enact new laws to prevent discrimination based on nationality if further pressure is to be exerted on Kuwait Airways, which has consistently said it must operate in accordance with Kuwaiti law.
Earlier this year, German minister Christian Schmidt said it was “fundamentally unacceptable to exclude citizens because of their nationality”.
Brooke Goldstein of the US-based Lawfare Project, a pro-Israel outfit which funded the legal action, said it was “sickening” and “a tragic day for German law”.
He added: “If, as the court says, the execution of the contract is impossible, the fault for that lies with the airline, not with the nationality of our client.”
The organisation has funded action against Kuwait Airways in the US and Switzerland, which led to the airline cancelling its New York-London flights and all its inter-European flights, rather than compromise its practices.
Gelbart said German ministers now needed to “tell the Kuwaitis [to] carry everyone or no one… No discrimination against Jews on German soil”.