“I didn’t think discrimination like this could exist in America, in JFK [Airport], in New York City. If they want to operate here, they have to obey our laws.”
A woman was barred from boarding a Kuwait Airways flight in New York because she holds Israeli citizenship. She is now suing the company.
Iris Eliazarov, a pregnant mother of four, filed a lawsuit against Kuwait Airways after she was barred from boarding its flight out of JFK Airport on November 1, 2014, because she is an Israeli citizen, the New York Daily News reported on Friday.
Eliazarov, 26, and, and her husband, David Nektalov, had bought tickets from a travel agent to fly from New York to London with the Kuwaiti airline. While Nektalov was allowed on the flight with his US passport, Eliazarov, who presented an Israeli passport, was forced to buy a ticket on another airline. The company cited a Kuwaiti law prohibiting Israeli citizens from flying Kuwait Airways.
Eliazarov’s lawsuit states that the airline’s policy was a breach of state and federal civil rights.
Nationality, Not Religion
Representing the Kuwaiti airline, John Maggio could not “confirm or deny” that Eliazarov was kept off the plane because the government of Kuwait does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. He claimed that the suit has no merit because the policy is based on citizenship, not religion, adding that a Muslim with an Israeli passport also would not be allowed on board.
US Federal Judge Roslynn Mauskopf ordered top federal and state law-enforcement officials – Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – to weigh in on the issue.
“I take strength from the experience of [African-American civil rights activist] Rosa Parks,” Eliazarov said in a sworn affidavit. “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.”
“I didn’t think discrimination like this could exist in America, in JFK [Airport], in New York City,” Nektalov told the NY Daily News. “If they want to operate here, they have to obey our laws. Sixty years ago blacks weren’t allowed to ride buses. This is not about money. You have to make a stand.”