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German court rules Kuwait Airways can deny Israeli passengers

By Daniel Uria
German court rules Kuwait Airways can deny Israeli passengers
A German court ruled Thursday that Kuwait Airways can deny Israeli passengers due to a law preventing Kuwaiti companies from conducting business with Israelis. Photo by Steve Fitzgerald/Wikimedia Commons

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A German court ruled Thursday that Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers from boarding its planes.

Kuwaiti law prohibits companies from doing business from Israelis and in its ruling the court said it was "not reasonable" for the airline to transport a person if it would result in legal consequences for its employees.

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A passenger sued the airline in 2016 after it refused to fly him from Frankfurt, Germany, to Bangkok via Kuwait City.

The court in Frankfurt said the ruling didn't consider "whether the law of a foreign country ... makes sense" and the passenger couldn't be compensated because the airline's action wasn't discriminatory under German law.

"Germany's anti-discrimination law prohibits, among other things, discrimination because of race, ethnicity or confession," the court said. "Discrimination because of citizenship is, by contrast, not covered by the law."

The passenger's attorney, Nathan Gelbar, said his client would appeal the ruling.

"This is a shameful ruling for democracy and for Germany," he said. "This ruling cannot be allowed to stand."

Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker condemned the law and Kuwait Airways' actions, saying the airline should no longer be allowed to operate in the country.

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"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," Becker said. "This Kuwaiti law, that is deeply anti-Semitic and that forbids the transport of Israelis, cannot be legal grounds for the violation of international standards."

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