Shock waves are reverberating across Europe and Israel following a German court ruling late last week that Kuwait’s national airline does not have to carry Israeli passengers.
The Frankfurt state court contends that the airline was merely respecting the laws of Kuwait, a nation that does not recognize the state of Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post, Reuters, and other major news sources. The court further said it was not up to a German court to rule on the appropriateness of Kuwaiti law.
In justifying the ruling, the German court said the carrier would face “not reasonable” legal consequences at home if it transported Israelis, such as fines or prison time for employees.
Germany’s anti-discrimination law applies only to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic background or religion, not citizenship, the court ruled.
Jewish groups say the verdict condones anti-Semitism.
‘A shameful verdict’
The plaintiff, an Israeli citizen who was identified in court papers only as Adar M., is a student living in Germany. According to The Times of Israel, the cancellation came a few days before the student’s scheduled departure in August 2016, when he revealed he had an Israeli passport. The airline offered to book him on a nonstop flight to Bangkok with another carrier. The man refused the offer and filed suit, seeking compensation for alleged discrimination.
“This is a shameful verdict for democracy and for Germany in general,” the plaintiff’s lawyer said in response to the ruling, adding that he would appeal. “This verdict cannot stand,” he said.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany said the Kuwaiti law was reminiscent of Nazi policies. “It is unacceptable that a foreign company operating on the basis of deeply anti-Semitic national laws should be allowed to do business in Germany,” the Jewish group said, adding that similar cases in Switzerland and the United States were decided in favor of the plaintiffs.
Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker also criticized the decision. “An airline that practices discrimination and anti-Semitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to take off or land in Frankfurt,” he said.
The letter of the law
In light of Germany’s long-standing angst over its past history of wrestling with Jewish hatred, you might think German courts would be more receptive in cases where anti-Semitism is so obvious. But that didn’t happen this time.
Instead, the letter of the law ruled the day.
Of course, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment all across Europe, on North American college campuses and, certainly, in international politics – such as the outrageous and shamelessly anti-Semitic decisions of governing bodies like the United Nations.
Because you’re a friend of Jewish Voice Ministries, I want you to be aware of what’s happening, so that your prayers can be specific. Our stand for Israel begins with sharing up-to-date information about events that impact that nation and her people.
In the face of these discouraging – but maybe not completely unexpected – setbacks, I hope you’ll join me in praying for the Jewish people … that they will experience God’s protection, have courage in the face of persecution and, most of all, come to faith in His only Son, Jesus the Messiah.
It is also important that we pray that anti-Semitism will be struck down wherever it has a foothold. Anti-Semitic rules, such as those encountered by this young student, can give rise to more anti-Semitic behavior. We must all be aware of this threat, and be diligent in our prayers that it will be defeated.