“Aviapartner baggage handlers allegedly claimed they were overburdened with work... but, while all other flight passengers serviced by them got their baggage on time, only the Tel Aviv passengers had to wait two tense hours...”

“We hope the internal enquiry will be swift, transparent and conclusive to unveil a form of antisemitic boycott resulting in disciplinary measures.”

Paris, 12 November 2019

In a letter to Clive Sauvé-Hopkins, CEO of Aviapartner airport services company, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed “shock to learn that, Sunday afternoon, the passengers of Transavia Flight from Tel Aviv to Lyon were left waiting for two hours for their baggage, in what appeared to be a deliberate form of boycott by Aviapartner baggage handlers.”

The letter continued, “When the passengers protested after seeing other later flights duly serviced, the Police had to intervene and mediate, in order to allow them to obtain their luggage.”

“The Aviapartner baggage handlers allegedly claimed they were overburdened with work and aggressively confronted by the passengers...” continued Samuels, “Nevertheless, looking at the arrivals timetable (of flights handled by Aviapartner), the Transavia flight from Tel Aviv arrived one hour after the Air Algérie 16:15 flight from Sétif, 20 minutes before the TAP flight from Lisbon, 30 minutes before another Air Algérie flight from Algiers, followed by a string of flights at 17:55, from Casablanca, Paris and Frankfurt.”

The letter stated that, “None of the passengers from these flights seemed to have protested the late delivery of their baggage. Apparently, all other flight passengers serviced by Aviapartner got their baggage on time, within the usual half-hour delay from landing. Only the Tel Aviv passengers had to wait for a tense two hours...”

According to other sources, the late delivery of baggage from incoming Tel Aviv flights is customary at the Lyon airport, and seems to be a deliberate, politically-motivated form of discrimination by a handful of employees.

Incidentally, the same airport was at the centre of a scandal in March 2018, when violently antisemitic and homophobic attacks were proffered by a baggage handler on Twitter (see: https://www.20minutes.fr/societe/2237743-20180314-lyon-employe-aeroport-vire-provisoirement-apres-propos-homophobes-antisemites-reseaux-sociaux). The employee was apparently reintegrated after a short suspension.

“Any form of boycott towards Israel or Israeli citizens is deemed – according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism – to be an antisemitic act under French law. Your services have apparently opened an enquiry into this latest episode,” noted Samuels, adding, “We hope it will be swift, transparent and conclusive, with disciplinary measures – from Aviapartner leadership – throughout your company,” concluded Samuels.

The letter was copied to the corporate and institutional shareholders of the Lyon Airport.