A German court has ruled that Kuwait Airways did not have to transport an Israeli passenger – as the carrier would have faced legal repercussions in its home country if it had done so.
The ruling, made Thursday by a Frankfurt court, noted that Kuwait’s national airline is not allowed close contact with Israeli nationals due to a 1964 law, which prohibits agreements between the gulf nation, which does not recognise Israel, and Israelis, reports AP.
An Israeli citizen, identified only as Adar M, had booked a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok with a stop over in the country’s capital, Kuwait City. When it was discovered that the passenger was travelling on an Israeli passport, however, the airline cancelled his booking and offered to rebook him with another airline.
The passenger refused and subsequently sued the airline for discrimination. The court rejected this claim, saying that German law covers discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion, but not nationality, according to Die Welt.
The court also added that it was not charged with deciding whether the law made sense, but that it would be unreasonable for the airline to “fulfill a contract if it commits a violation of the law of its own state and therefore expects to be punished there,” as cited by Die Welt.
Responding to the ruling, the passenger’s lawyer, Nathan Gelbert, told the Jewish Chronicle that the “statement by the court that my client was supposed to accept transportation on other airlines is nothing more than capitulating to antisemitic discrimination by Kuwait Airways.”
Gelbert confirmed they intend to appeal and that the verdict was “shameful for democracy and for Germany in general.” Germany’s Central Council of Jews echoed these sentiments saying that it’s “unbearable that a foreign company operating based on deeply anti-Semitic national laws is allowed to be active in Germany.”
In 2015, following a complaint by an Israeli citizen who attempted to travel from New York to London with the airline, the United States government concluded that Kuwait Airways policy violated American law. Instead of changing its policy, however, the airline cancelled the route.