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Airline stops Jew from flying NYC to London

Kuwait mosque

Kuwait Airways is clinging to an Shariah-inspired, anti-Semitic law that bans the sale of tickets to Jews on its New York-London flights, according to a New York attorney fighting the practice.

That’s even though the U.S. government has ordered the company based in the Muslim nation to halt such discrimination in the United States.

Lawyer Jeffrey A. Lovitky, who several years ago had exposed a similar practice by Delta Airlines due to a code-sharing arrangement with Saudi Arabian Airlines, told WND that Kuwait Airways’ permission to use American airports should be terminated.

“Kuwait Airways is acting at the explicit direction of the government of Kuwait in excluding Israeli citizens from its flights between New York and London,” he told WND.

“The Kuwaiti government’s embrace of the Arab boycott of Israel is a manifestation of its deep hostility towards the Jewish people. I call upon the Congress to make it a crime for any company to boycott Israeli citizens, when such boycott is at the direction of a foreign government.

“And I call upon the Secretary of Transportation to emphatically reject this manifestation of bigotry against the Jewish people, by immediately terminating Kuwait Airways permit to fly between the United States and the United Kingdom,” he said.

Lovitky said he filed a formal complaint with the Department of Transportation in 2013 alleging illegal discrimination.

It was rejected because Kuwait Airways “was required to follow Kuwait law.”

But he said when he filed a lawsuit, on behalf of Eldad Gatt of Jerusalem against the federal agency, the decision ultimately was reversed.

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In a document dated Sept. 30, 2015, to Evelyn D. Sahr, counsel for Kuwait Airways, Blane Workie, assistant general counsel for aviation enforcement and proceedings for the U.S. Department of Transportation, delivered the news.

Gatt, an Israeli citizen, had wanted to fly from New York to London on the airline, which does not carry Jews to Kuwait because of restrictions on their entry there.

However, those restrictions shouldn’t apply to New York-London flights, the lawyer said.

The lawsuit cited federal law that holds that “an air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person, place, port, or type of traffic in foreign air transportation to unreasonable discrimination.”

Kuwait Airways did, the letter finds, exactly that.

“After a thorough review of the information provided by the parties, we find that KAC unreasonably discriminated against Mr. Gatt in violation of 48 U.S.C. [Paragraph] 41310 by refusing to sell him a ticket on its flight from JFK to LHR. Our conclusion that KAC unreasonably discriminated against Mr. Gatt is based on the history and intent of … case law, and the permit authority granted to KAC to engage in scheduled foreign air transportation.”

The crux of the dispute is that the airline wishes to impose the restrictions that are authorized inside Kuwait to its business activity in the United States, which has far different requirements and regulations.

The DOT letter said, “A common carrier is ‘obliged to carry all persons who apply for passage, if the accommodations are sufficient, unless there is a proper excuse for refusal.'”

The instructions continued, “In cases interpreting the common law non-discrimination duty of common carriers, the Supreme Court has upheld the common carrier duty not to discriminate on the basis of race using the unreasonable discrimination standard under the Interstate Commerce Act.”

The letter said: “We have applied these principles to determine whether KAC’s refusal to sell a ticket to Mr. Gatt from JFK to LHR on the basis of his Israeli citizenship is unreasonable discrimination. KAC contends that its denial …. is reasonable because Kuwaiti law prohibits the carrier from selling a ticket to an Israeli passport holder. KAC emphasizes that the statutory penalties for violation of the Kuwaiti law include imprisonment with hard labor, in addition to a fine, as evidence that it cannot comply with U.S. law.

“This is not a proper justification for the denial of transportation as the penalties that allegedly have compelled KAC’s conduct are part of a discriminatory statutory scheme. … Moreover, this complaint does not involve travel to a country where the complainant is not allowed to disembark based on the laws of that country.”

WND calls to the airline and its legal representation did not generate a requested comment.

“There is no question that a person holding a valid Israeli passport can depart the U.S. and enter the United Kingdom. As such, we find that it is unreasonable discrimination for KAC to refuse transport to Israeli citizens between the U.S. and a third country where their passports are recognized as valid travel documents and they are allowed to disembark based on the laws of that country,” the DOT letter told the airline.

Another letter dated only two weeks ago between the same parties affirmed the decision and denied the airline’s request for reconsideration.

“Your letter of October 13, which seeks to respond to our determination of unreasonable discrimination, also indicated that KAC would not comply within 15 days. In light of KAC’s refusal to comply with U.S. law, we are directing that KAC cease and desist from refusing to transport Israeli citizens between the U.S. and any third country where they are allowed to disembark based on the laws of that country.

“In the event that KAC fails to comply with this obligation, as set forth in our September 30 letter, the department will have no choice but to pursue further administrative and/or judicial action.” the agency letter said.

The airline had openly admitted that it “distinguishes” between passengers based upon their citizenship but insisted the practice was legal.

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In addition, the airline thumbed its nose at the federal department, stating: “DOT’s statutory authority does not authorize the department to enforce its consumer protection determinations in this manner. There are no international agreements nor is there any presidential or congressional action that has authorized DOT to enforce its consumer protection determinations against carriers that operate in foreign air transportation with a de minimus impact on U.S. commerce.”

It also said it had the right to refuse service if it decided a passenger “is, or might be inimical to safety.”

Lovitky had made clear to the airline that he was not challenging Kuwait’s authority regarding entry at its borders.

But he said an Israeli legally can be in New York and London, and, therefore, there’s no reason to discriminate against them in flight services between those cities.

The lawyer told WND that U.S. law applies to activities in the United States, not Kuwaiti law.

WND reported several years ago, after Lovitky had fought for access by Israelis to Saudi Arabian Airlines, that Bill de Blasio, then a candidate for mayor, blasted the airline for its position.

Lovitky also challenged Delta Airlines when it was working under a cooperative agreement with Saudi Arabia to feature flights directly to the kingdom. Delta was asking passengers about their religious affiliation, since Saudi Arabia does not allow Jews to enter.

Eventually, Delta agreed not to ask the questions.