Kuwait Israeli Case

A Kuwait Airways plane.

An Israeli passenger who was prevented from boarding a Kuwait Airways flight last year due to his nationality has filed an appeal in the District Court of Frankfurt, Germany, after the court ruled in favor of the airline’s discriminatory policy in November.

Nathan Gelbart, the German counsel for The Lawfare Project legal think tank and litigation fund, filed the appeal on behalf of the passenger.

“We thought we had consigned anti-Semitism to our history books,” said Gelbart. “The [court’s] verdict has allowed anti-Semitic discrimination to be imported into our country and helped whitewash and sanitize it.”

The Lawfare Project’s appeal argues that the verdict essentially implemented “the racist law of a radical, totalitarian regime,” and that the court aided and abetted the airline’s enforcement of Kuwait’s anti-Semitic laws despite the fact that such discrimination is considered illegal in Germany.

In its November ruling, the Frankfurt court noted that Kuwait bans all of its citizens and companies from doing business with Israelis in accordance with a law enacted in 1964. The court stated that while it didn’t evaluate whether the Kuwaiti law “makes sense,” the airline would have risked repercussions that were “not reasonable”—such as such as fines or prison time for employees—for violating the Kuwaiti statute.

“The judge had a chance to protect the victim of racist, anti-Semitic discrimination but chose instead to side with the perpetrator of it,” said Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project. “It has been encouraging, however, to see the level of outrage he has caused in Germany among decent people who will not let this injustice stand.”

Since the verdict, three regional parliaments in Germany have passed resolutions condemning the airline for its racist policy.

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