Kuwait Airways declare Israeli citizens personae non gratae

Kuwait Airways officially denies all Israeli citizens the right to take a flight. This is apparently the intention of a law passed by the Emirate of Kuwait in 1964, which does not recognize the state of Israel in principle and forbids contracts with citizens of this country under threat of imprisonment or “hard work”. Admittedly, an Israeli does not necessarily correspond to a Jew (and vice versa), but it is difficult to deny that this is an anti-Semitic regulation.

The Frankfurt Regional Court in November 2017 took a different view. Although it affirmed discrimination, it was not inadmissible because it was based on nationality. In fact, the German Anti-Discrimination Act only applies in the case of discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin or religion. A lawyer of Kuwait Airlines also stated that Muslims with Israeli citizenship would also be denied boarding.

What remains is an unpleasant aftertaste. Unsurprisingly, criticism of this verdict has been received from various quarters and the German government has intervened.

Kuwait Airways has lost twice in similar cases. Both the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and the US Department of Transportation have called on the airline to refrain from discrimination. From Kuwait Airways’ point of view, this did not seem to be an option; it preferred to discontinue all intra-European routes and the New York – London route as a result.

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