17 April 2012
Air France demanded to know the religion of a passenger on a flight from Nice to Tel Aviv and removed her because she is not a Jew.
The 15 April incident, confirmed by an Air France official, may violate international and European law by subjecting prospective passengers to illegal religious discrimination.
Over the past few days, Israeli authorities have reacted to an effort by hundreds of European travelers to visit the occupied West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians by stationing hundreds of armed police and soldiers at the main international airport at Lydd, detaining and expelling travelers, and ordering European airlines to prevent boarding of travelers that Israel has placed on a political blacklist.
Several European airlines meekly complied with these Israeli orders, canceling tickets of those arbitrarily blacklisted by Israel.
The revelation that passengers are being subjected to religious tests takes this complicity with Israel’s apartheid policies to shocking new levels.
“Are you Jewish?”
The passenger’s account was published by the website of CAPJPO-Euro-Palestine and I have translated the following passage:
A young woman, Horia A., was allowed to check-in normally and then board the aircraft. But a few minutes before take off, a flight attendant arrived at Horia’s seat and asked Horia to come with her. Isolated in a corner of the aircraft, the embarrassed flight attendant asked her a first question:
“Madame, do you have an Israeli passport?”
“She said no,” said the flight attendant into her walkie-talkie to the ground crew.
Flight attendant: “And now, are you of Israe.. um, are you Jewish?”
Flight attendant into walkie-talkie: “Also, no”
During the next few minutes, Horia could see interactions and comings and goings among Air France personnel, before the flight attendant confirmed to her that she was forbidden to fly, citing “a very complex situation.”
Horia had the presence of mind to ask for a written statement, signed by the Air France employee, who was an accomplice despite herself in her bosses’ dirty tricks.
Air France documents religious interrogation in writing
CAPJPO-Euro-Palestine provided a copy of the document on its website, noting that it had redacted the family name of the passenger and the name of the Air France employee.
In hand-writing, the form states (in French):
Customer boarded and then subjected to questioning on demand of Israeli authorities and then disembarked because not admissable to Israel.
Do you have an Israeli passport?
Are you Jewish?
Answers: no to the 2 questions.
Alain Gresh, renowned journalist for Le Monde Diplomatique picked up the story on his French-language blog (my translation):
Let’s leave aside the political and diplomatic aspects of this affair to address another point: if Air France is applying the Chicago Convention [on Civil Aviation], can it do it while violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and French law?
It is forbidden in effect to discriminate against a person because of his color or religion. But that is what happened in particular in Nice, where the company refused to board a passenger arguing that the person was neither Israeli nor Jewish!
Air France confirms discrimination policy
The note presented to Horia A. is signed “CEP AF” which appears to stand for “Chef d’Escale de Permanence - Air France” or Air France station chief. Air France has confirmed the incident described in Horia A.’s account, as Gresh writes:
This is no mere blunder, because Jean Charles Tréan, General Manager for Corporate Communications [at Air France], specifies in response to a question I asked him: “It is in this context that the station chief in Nice for Air France flight 4384 of 15 April 2012, did, on demand from Israeli authorities and in their name, ask the two questions cited. This allowed the identification of the fact that the passenger concerned was not permitted on Israeli terroritory.” We are in the presence of a case of flagrant discrimination that ought to be brought before the courts.
Gresh could not be more right. Just imagine if a country demanded that Air France question passengers about their religion in order to exclude Jews. And imagine if Air France willingly complied.
Permalink Alex Stein replied on
Were there any other non-Jews on the flight?
If there were, and it turns
Permalink Rab replied on
If there were, and it turns out this passenger is also of a middle eastern ethnicity, then this is not only a case of discrimination in the form of religious elitism, it's also a case of discrimination in the form of blatant racism.
At Israel’s behest, woman removed from Air France flight...
Permalink dickerson3870 replied on
Liberté, égalité, fraternité? Apparently not!
That's exactly what I thought
Permalink Erica Tesdell replied on
That's exactly what I thought!
The joke is that here in the
Permalink Huzayfa replied on
The joke is that here in the UAE, Jews are allowed to visit and work. Maybe Israel should get their heads around that.
Permalink George Stothard replied on
To clarify, there is no religious discrimination in the UAE but individuals who present an Israeli passport at immigration - or any other passport that has an Israeli stamp in it - will be turned away. This is because the UAE does ot recognise Israel.
Permalink Goerge replied on
And Israel does not recognize UAE
I have never had a burning
Permalink Nabil Al-Murabit replied on
I have never had a burning desire to go to France, but if I do you can bet your ass that I won't go via Air France. Cowardly bastards.
Permalink Mhara Costello replied on
"Maybe Israel should get their heads around that".
More sense to shove heads up arse, same place they keep their ethics.
Permalink Billy Ray replied on
I'm not defending Air France or Israel but to gain entry to Saudi Arabia, they pretty much demand that you are Muslim. Israel seem to be following that model here.
Sir, u r wrong. I have many
Permalink Kevin Pa replied on
Sir, u r wrong. I have many non muslim collegues that go to Saudi on business all the time
This is not true. I am a
Permalink Ayman replied on
This is not true. I am a Christian and I travell to Saudi Arabia
what if jews were kicked off!? double standards!
Permalink Don Mega replied on
let's imagine for a while air france kicked out the jew from the flight there would be furious outrage all over american media! what is the reason for this double standards? well america is playing all buddy with israel while it doesn't even care of it's own citizens. israel even sank american ship u.s.s liberty and lied about it, which later they confessed to! and americans didn't do anything about it. damn israel. even israel's citizens condemn they're government's lies and conquering behavior! why are we allowing a pea sized country to run the world and all of us into ww3!?
The USS Liberty
Permalink Cavaglione replied on
There never has been an acknowledgment that the USS was deliberately strafed and bombed. She was in international waters at the time of the attack, and her crew was very careful not to stray from them because she was an intelligence ship, very clearly flying the US flag for all to see from the water and the air. US jets lifted off to her rescue from elsewhere in the Mediterranean, but they received orders (US ones, obviously) to turn back. The US government abandoned her to her fate and easily accepted the fairy tale that she had been bombed by mistake.
Billy Ray is Lying or just plain ignorant
Permalink Anonymous replied on
Re "Saudi Arabia. Permalink Submitted by Billy Ray (not verified) on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 19:26 I'm not defending Air France or Israel but to gain entry to Saudi Arabia, they pretty much demand that you are Muslim. Israel seem to be following that model here"
This is an outright lie. I have been in Saudi Arabia. I was never asked about my religion not did any one ever demand that I be a Muslim .
The only restiction In Saudi Arabia is that only Mulsims can enter the Holy City of Mecca.
Dr. Arthur F. Billy