The Jerusalem Post
Israeli challenges German court ruling on Kuwait air travel ban
BERLIN (Reuters) – An Israeli man filed an appeal on Monday against a German court’s ruling that upheld Kuwait Airways’ right to ban him from boarding a flight due to his citizenship, a legal decision that triggered sharp criticism from German officials and Jewish groups.
The appeal argues that the ruling accepted a racist Kuwaiti law and allowed the airline to override German laws that require airlines to transport any passenger with valid travel documents, according to the Lawfare Project, which filed the appeal.
“We cannot allow our laws to be subverted by the state-sponsored racism of our nations,” said Nathan Gelbart, the German attorney for the group, which fights anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli discrimination around the world.
He said the decision by the Frankfurt District Court had allowed “antisemitic discrimination to be imported into our country and helped whitewash and sanitize it.”
Kuwait Airways has not commented on the decision.
The Frankfurt court last month ruled Kuwait Airways had the right to refuse to carry the Israeli man on a flight to Bangkok that began in Frankfurt and included a stopover in Kuwait City, since it was abiding by the laws of Kuwait, a country that does not recognize the State of Israel.
It said Germany’s anti-discrimination law applied only in cases of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic background or religion, not citizenship.
The ruling was sharply criticized by German government officials and the Central Council of Jews in Germany, which said the Kuwaiti law was reminiscent of Nazi policies.
Three German state parliaments – in Bavaria, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia – have passed resolutions condemning the airline for its policy.
Acting Transportation Minister Christian Schmidt also raised concerns about the issue in a letter delivered to the Kuwaiti government in late November, saying it was “fundamentally unacceptable to exclude citizens because of their nationality,” according to the Lawfare Project.
A spate of antisemitic acts in Germany in recent weeks, including the burning of Israeli flags, has triggered concern and calls by top officials to put more emphasis on the Holocaust in courses for migrants.
Rights groups say antisemitism and violent acts have increased in recent years, amid growing support for farright political groups and the influx of more than a million migrants from Syria and other countries that are at war with Israel.