German court upholds Kuwait Airways ban on Israeli passengers

A German Court Tuesday rejected an appeal against Kuwait Airways’ policy of barring Israelis from flying on its planes.

A German court rejected an appeal against Kuwait Airways' policy of barring Israelis from flying on its planes, saying it couldn't affect policy in Kuwait and other countries. Photo courtesy Milad A380/Wikimedia Commons
A German court rejected an appeal against Kuwait Airways’ policy of barring Israelis from flying on its planes, saying it couldn’t affect policy in Kuwait and other countries. Photo courtesy Milad A380/Wikimedia Commons

The High Court of Hesse ruled that Germany only had an impact on portions of the airline’s flights within its borders and wouldn’t be able to influence what passengers are permitted to board Kuwait Airways flights in Kuwait and other countries.
“It is hard for me to accept that this airline may continue to advertise flights from Germany to Bangkok for everyone except Israelis, especially given the High Court classifies this action as discriminatory and illegal,” German counsel Nathan Gelbart said.

In November, a German court ruled Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers from boarding its planes after an Israeli passenger sued the airline in 2016 when it refused to fly him from Frankfurt, Germany, to Bangkok via Kuwait City.

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The ruling stated it was “not reasonable” for the airline to transport a person if it would result in legal consequences for its employees, as Kuwaiti law prohibits companies from doing business from Israelis.

The Lawfare Project — a U.S.-based organization which funded the legal action against the airline — said Tuesday that the court “expressed doubts that in the event of a verdict against Kuwait Airways, the verdict would be respected,” as an Israeli passenger would be unable to leave the first plane after landing in Kuwait due to the country’s restrictions.

Lawfare Project executive director Brooke Goldstein said Tuesday’s ruling represented a “tragic day for German law.

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“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its antisemitism,” Goldstein said. “If, as the court says, the execution of the contract is impos- sible, the fault for that lies with the racist policy of the airline, not with the nationality of our client.”

Gelbart said further appeals may be considered, but Germany’s politicians should craft policy based on its criticism of the airlines practices.

“It is not that Kuwait Airways is incapable of fulfilling its legal obligations, it is simply unwilling to do so and therefore should have been ordered by the court to transport our client,” he said.

ByDaniel Uria