Kuwait Airways can refuse Israeli passengers, rules German court
Kuwait's national airline was not compelled by law to transport an Israeli citizen due to legal implications the carrier could face back home, a German court ruled on Thursday.
In its decision, the Frankfurt state court made note of the face that Kuwait Airways is not not allowed to close contracts with Israelis due to the Gulf state's boycott of Israel.
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.
Kuwait Airways was brought to court after by an Israeli citizen who booked a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok with the airline. His booking was cancelled by the airline, who offered to rebook him with another carrier.
The man refused and filed the lawsuit, alleging discrimination and seeking compensation for the inconvenience.
His claim was rejected by the court, which ruled that German law covers discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion, but not nationality.
Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker condemned the ruling, accusing the airline of anti-Semitism.
"An airline that practices discrimination and anti-Semitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to takeoff or land in Frankfurt," Becker said.
Germany's Central Council of Jews also blasted the ruling, saying it is "unbearable that a foreign company operating based on deeply anti-Semitic national laws is allowed to be active in Germany."
A lawyer for the Israeli passenger described the decision as "deeply shocking."
"This is an embarrassing ruling for democracy and for Germany," lawyer Nathan Gelbart said. "It cannot be allowed to stand like this."
In 2015, Kuwait Airways refused to sell an Israeli citizen a ticket for a flight from New York to London, leading to US authorities ruling that the airline must sell tickets to Israelis.
The airline responded by scrapping flights between New York's JFK airport and London's Heathrow airport.