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A German court just ruled that Kuwait’s national airline can refuse service to Israelis

Kuwait has a law against entering any agreement with Israelis.

General view of a Kuwait Airways plane taking off at Heathrow Airport   (Photo by Steve Parsons - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
A Kuwait Airways plane taking off at Heathrow Airport.
Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

A German court has ruled that the Kuwaiti national airline can legally refuse to seat and fly Israeli passengers.

The case dates back to 2016, when Kuwait Airways canceled the ticket of an Israeli student who had booked a seat on a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok after realizing that he held an Israeli passport. Kuwait Airways offered to book him a seat on a different airline, but "Adar M," as the plaintiff was known in court filings, refused the offer and sued for alleged discrimination.

Kuwait does not recognize the state of Israel, and has a law on the books barring Kuwaitis from entering "into an agreement, personally or indirectly, with entities or persons residing in Israel, or with Israeli citizenship.”

On Thursday, a court in Germany sided with the Kuwaitis — saying the company would face repercussions at home for violating national law.

The passenger’s lawyer, Nathan Gelbart, called the ruling a "shameful verdict for democracy and for Germany in general.” The Central Council on Jews in Germany likened the law to Nazi era restrictions.

The German foreign ministry said Friday morning that they will push for a change of heart by the Kuwaitis. "It is incomprehensible to me that in today's Germany a passenger cannot board a plane simply because of his nationality,” Germany’s deputy foreign minister, Michael Roth, told the German daily newspaper Die Welt.

This isn’t the first time Kuwait’s stance on Israel has stranded travelers

Kuwait’s Israel-boycott law has also affected Arab-Israelis. In a viral video posted October 1, the Palestinian-Israeli Nuseir Yassin — who blogs under Nas Daily — railed against his own cancelled flight on Kuwait Airways from New York to India.

this is not okay.

This is not okay. I said my two cents in the video. Here is the rest of the story: This is not the airline's fault. Don't blame Kuwait Airways. The people that work there were nothing but nice to me and my girlfriend. In fact, they even helped us with our visa to India. They also paid up to put me in a different airline just so I can get to my final destination. Alyne got on their flight with no problems. I didn't lose money here. They just have to work by the laws of the country. And the laws of their country, Kuwait, are what pissed me off. Not the airline. The laws of Israel do not explicitly ban anyone from entering Israel, but they also make it hard enough to get a visa if you're coming from Kuwait. That's also not okay. I am sick of being in the middle of a never ending conflict. Some Arab countries don't like me because I am Israeli, and some Israelis don't like me because I am also Palestinian. It's a lose-lose situation. The only win in my life was to move to the US.... LIKE Nas Daily on Facebook! @NasDaily on Instagram! Music: Skyline by Meizong

Posted by Nas Daily on Sunday, October 1, 2017

Yassin notes in the video that the Kuwaiti boycott of Israeli also discriminates against 2 million Muslim Palestinian-Israelis.

And in 2015, the US Department of Transportation forced Kuwait to drop one of their air routes from New York to London. The reason? Discriminating against Israelis, which US law prohibits.