German court ruled Kuwait Airways within its rights to refuse Israeli passengers

Jazeera Airways

In the past, Kuwait Airways received similar rulings in the United States and Switzerland.

A German court has ruled that Kuwait's national airline didn't have to transport an Israeli citizen because the carrier would face legal repercussions at home if it did.

Jewish and political leaders in Germany criticized the ruling handed down Thursday by the district court.

A lawyer for the Israeli passenger called the verdict "deeply shocking". "This verdict can not stand", Nathan Gelbart said. "It can not be allowed to stand like this".

Kuwait Airways was brought to court after by an Israeli citizen who booked a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok with the airline. The flight was to originate in Frankfurt with a stopover in Kuwait. Instead of changing its policy, however, the airline cancelled the route.

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The court stressed that its ruling did not evaluate whether "this law make sense", but said that the airline faced unreasonable repercussions, including fines and prison sentences for employees, for breaking the boycott. The court added that it was not within its jurisdiction to decide whether Kuwaiti law was reasonable.

The German government should revoke landing rights for Kuwait Airways given its ban on Israeli passengers, a senior Justice Department official said on Friday, saying such discrimination was intolerable.

But Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker said in a statement that "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".

German Transport Minister Christian Schmidt told Bild newspaper that it was not acceptable to discriminate against airline passengers due to their nationality, and said the German government would address the matter with the Kuwaiti government. The decision followed an appeal by an Israeli citizen against a negative ruling by the department.

Lange told Merkel in the letter that he had received countless phone calls from members of the Jewish community and from others in Israel, expressing shock about the court ruling, made just days after Germany solemnly marked the anniversary of the November 9, 1938 Nazi pogroms against the Jews.

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