(Aeropixels Photography/Flickr)
Kuwait Airways

The Lawfare Project is taking further legal action against Kuwait Airways over its discrimination against Israelis.  

Kuwait’s national carrier is facing new legal challenges over its discrimination against Israeli nationals.

The Lawfare Project (LP) announced Monday the next stage in its international legal action challenging Kuwait Airways Corporation’s (KAC) refusal to fly Israeli nationals on any of its flights, regardless of the flights origin or destination.

After successfully shutting down all Kuwait Airways flights operating between the US and Europe, as well as all intra-European flights, LP has filed a new action in the District Court of Frankfurt, Germany, challenging all flights from Europe through Kuwait to non-Arab League destinations, such as Bangkok and Mumbai. These connecting flights are the last vestige of the airline, and the LP “is confident that the German court will agree that they clearly operate in violation of German aviation and anti-discrimination laws.”

According to German law, every airline operating flights in and out of Germany must transport any and every passenger engaging in his or her protected right to travel. “KAC cannot extraterritorially apply discriminatory domestic Kuwaiti law against German travelers,” LP stated.

The unnamed plaintiff in this case booked a ticket through Expedia on KAC’s flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Bangkok, Thailand, with a layover in Kuwait. Shortly before the flight departed, the airline became aware of the fact that this individual was an Israeli national, and immediately cancelled his ticket.

“If Kuwait Airways wishes to operate flights from Frankfurt to Bangkok and to officially market these flights in Germany, they must either transport all passengers, including Israelis, or simply cease these flights,” said LP German counsel Nathan Gelbart.

Although KAC will likely argue that they cannot admit Israeli passport holders on flights that travel through Kuwait since the Arab League member state participates in decades-old boycott of Israel, passengers with layovers in Kuwait do not ever enter Kuwaiti territory, nor are they required to pass through customs or passport control. They disembark from one flight, pass through the duty free area, and board another flight to a destination that does not discriminate against the Jewish or Israeli people.

“Since at least seven member states of the Arab League already welcome Israeli passport holders in these commercial areas, there is nothing justifying Kuwait’s refusal to allow the same,” LP explained.

“National origin discrimination has no place in global commerce,” LP Director Brooke Goldstein said. “The LP is sending a message to all participants in the Arab League boycott of Israel as well as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that these practices will be prosecuted and penalized whenever and wherever they are attempted in the Western world.”

Goldstein expects to see success in this groundbreaking legal action, and hopes to see the airline comply with German law or face the appropriate consequences for its discriminatory commercial behavior.

In October 2015, the US government ruled that Kuwait Airways unlawfully discriminated against a passenger traveling on an Israeli passport by refusing to sell him a ticket for a New York to London flight.

Kuwait Airways’ decision to cease service between New York and London because the US was compelling it to sell tickets to Israelis ranked 9th in the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s top10 anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents of 2015.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel