"Kuwait Airways rejection of Israeli passenger violates your organizations' non-discrimination principles,thus requiring Kuwait's suspension."
Paris, 8 April 2018
In letters to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo, and to International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed "the deep concern of our members at the ban on Israeli passengers practised by Kuwait Airways, a state-controlled company of the government of Kuwait."
Samuels argued that "a government may determine the right to entry into its sovereign territory and to whom it may issue a visa... It is patent discrimination, however, when a passenger is refused embarkation - due to ethnicity, gender, religion or national identity - on flights profiting from International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA), known as the 'Seventh Freedom': 'The right to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries without any continuing service to one’s own country'."
The letter noted that, "this discrimination is aggravated when the victims of such bigotry are only Israelis, in the sense that such treatment of only citizens of the Jewish state, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Definition of Antisemitism, is indeed antisemitism. This definition is now internationally acknowledged by many of your organization’s member-states."
Samuels stressed that, "rather than carry Israelis, Kuwait Airways, due to United States policy, closed its New York-London route"... "Controversy surrounds a Frankfurt court’s ruling currently under appeal, that sees no problem in Kuwait Airways’ rejection of an Israeli passenger ticketed on its flight between Berlin and Bangkok," adding, "this is even more perturbing in Germany where denial of passage to Jews under the Nazis was a step that ended in the Holocaust."
The Centre emphasized that "Kuwait Airways’ policy violates the 'non-discrimination principles' of the World Trade Organization (WTO), while Germany is now a complicit party. We urge you to condemn the airline’s behaviour and that this case be registered as an official dispute against both countries. In the case of Kuwait, its WTO status should be suspended until this discriminatory issue is resolved."
It was similarly argued that "Kuwait Airways’ policy violates IATA’s Brand Values, especially the claim that 'we act with a simple human touch' and its initiative: 'Improving the Passenger Experience One Order at a Time'.”
"We urge you to condemn the airline’s behaviour and that Kuwait’s IATA status also be suspended pending resolution of its discrimination," concluded Samuels.