Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers, German court rules | News | DW | 16.11.2017

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Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers, German court rules

Kuwait Airways canceled an Israeli passenger's ticket because of their citizenship. Nothing wrong with that, said a court in Frankfurt — and provoked an outcry.

A court in the German city of Frankfurt ruled on Thursday that Kuwait Airways was within its rights to refuse to transport an Israeli because of their citizenship.

In its judgement, the court said it was "not reasonable" for the airline to transport a person if doing so risked severe legal consequences for its employees in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti law prohibits companies from doing business with Israelis.

The passenger had sued the airline for discrimination after it refused to fly him from Frankfurt to Bangkok via Kuwait City in 2016.

Read more: Kuwait Airways to end New York to London flights after refusing to sell tickets to Israelis

The details of the ruling

The court adjuged that:

  • Their evaluation did not consider "whether the law of a foreign country … makes sense" from a German legal view
  • The Israeli could not be compensated for the airline's action because it was not discriminatory under German law
  • "Germany's anti-discrimination law prohibits, among other things, discrimination because of race, ethnicity or confession. Discrimination because of citizenship is, by contrast, not covered by the law."

Read more: The 1967 Six-Day War and its difficult legacy

What were the reactions?

The case in Frankfurt follows similar discrimination cases against Kuwait Airways in Switzerland and the US. Courts in those instances ruled against the company.

The Israeli's lawyer, Nathan Gelbart, condemned the judgement. "This is a shameful verdict for democracy and for Germany in general," he said. "This verdict cannot stand."

Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker echoed the sentiment, saying: "To my mind, an airline that practices discrimination and anti-Semitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to take off or land in Frankfurt, or at any other airport in Germany."

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