Agency Orders Kuwait Airways’ to End Discrimination Against Israelis

NEW YORK -

The agency controlling New York City’s airports has ordered Kuwait Airways to end its refusal to sell tickets to Israeli passport holders.

The Port Authority’s letter to the Middle Eastern airline comes weeks after city lawmakers held a press conference denouncing their discriminatory conduct toward Israelis, which is a violation of federal law and the airline’s lease of Kennedy Airport.

Patrick Foye, the agency’s executive director, wrote to one of the legislators, Councilman Mark Levine of the Upper West Side, stating that he was “appalled” at Kuwait’s national airline’s behavior.

“Written notification has been provided to Kuwait Airways reminding them of their JFK International Airport leasehold obligations which require that they fully comply with federal and state anti-discrimination laws,” Foye wrote to Levine, who chairs the council’s Jewish caucus.

“Furthermore,” he added in the letter dated Nov. 25 but released on Monday, “I have met with the leadership of Kuwait Airways in order to reinforce that discriminatory practices are unacceptable and must be ceased immediately.”

The council members who rallied at City Hall last month said that they applauded the Port Authority’s action in the matter.

“In a city and a country that welcomes diversity, no one should be denied an airplane ticket because of where they were born,” they wrote. “This blatant discrimination against Israeli passport holders is not only immoral, it’s illegal.”

The ban on Israelis has existed since 1948, when the state of Israel was established. While it has waned in recent years as Arab countries have signed peace agreements with Israel, it is still enforced in some nations. But it has strengthened in recent years, as universities and student unions in the West embraced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions lobby group.