Kuwait Airways Bars Woman From Flight Because of Israeli Citizenship

Woman files suit, charging bias and violation of civil-rights laws. Airline says suit has no merit because policy is based on citizenship, not religion.

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Kuwait Airlines plane takes off from at Kuala Lumpur International Air Port, Sepang, Malaysia on August 4, 2014.
Kuwait Airlines plane takes off from at Kuala Lumpur International Air Port, Sepang, Malaysia on August 4, 2014.Credit: Dreamstime
JTA
JTA

An Israeli woman who has lived in the United States for the last 15 years was barred from boarding a Kuwait Airways flight in New York because of her Israeli citizenship.

Iris Eliazarov, 26, who came to the United States when she was 11 and has a Green Card, was barred from the Nov. 1 Kuwait Airlines flight from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to London, The New York Daily News reported Friday. Her husband, David Nektalov, a U.S. citizen, was allowed to board the flight.

A Kuwaiti law prohibits Israeli citizens from flying on Kuwait Airways.

Eliazarov has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the airlines, which argues that the airline policy violates both state and federal civil rights laws.

“I take strength from the experience of Rosa Parks,” Eliazarov said in a sworn affidavit, the Daily News reported. “She became famous for her principled stand. This experience has awakened the nightmare of the experience of the Jewish people in Europe in the last century. That was a time of the wrongful splitting of families, often at transportation facilities.”

The airline’s attorney John Maggio told the newspaper that the suit has no merit because the policy is based on citizenship, not religion. He said that a Muslim with an Israeli passport also would not be allowed on the plane.

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