“Imagine the protests in the streets if Delta Airlines were to tell Muslims that they could not fly somewhere because the local customs would not permit them to enter that country. And just how quickly would Rev. Al Sharpton be able to gather thousands to march against Delta Airlines if they would not allow black people onto their planes because the country where they were flying would not permit people of color to enter?”
So begins an article at the Blaze addressing the recent service partnership between Delta and Saudi Arabian Airlines, the effect of which is to permit Delta passengers henceforth to fly directly into Saudi Arabia—provided they aren’t Jewish.
The article cites a letter to Delta’s CEO from Jeffrey A. Lovitky, a Washington attorney, that criticizes this outrage (see slideshow). Lovitky writes:
Delta would be involving itself in the most heinous form of religious discrimination it were to enter into any code share or other reciprocal travel arrangements with any airline which refuses boarding to individuals of specific religious persuasions.
Later in the letter Lovitky raises the question of whether Delta would have willingly entered into a service partnership with a South African airline during apartheid. It’s an excellent question, and one that Delta’s Chief Executive Richard H. Anderson doesn’t answer.
In fact, Anderson doesn’t say anything, instead turning the matter over to Customer Care Coordinator Kathy M. Johnson, who writes back:
Delta must … comply with all applicable laws in every country it serves and by the same passengers are responsible to obtain the necessary travel documents required for entry into another country prior to their day of travel.
A chain of correspondence chain between Lovitky and the airlines follows, ending on June 1, when Delta somewhat huffily declared “As we have no further comments to make … we respectfully consider this matter closed.”
Undaunted, Lovitky enlisted the aid of former Congressman and actor Fred Grandy and has since taken up his complaint with Delta’s Board of Directors.
One critical question not addressed in the Blaze article is where the State Department stands on this sticky issue. Do they sanction the singling out of a segment of the American population by a supposed “ally”? I have forwarded this column to that government agency for their reaction and will report on the same once a response has been given.
In the meantime, I can state with some certainty that the U.S. Congress has not found the Saudi treatment of Jews to be sufficiently problematic to vote on a bill proposed in Congress in 2009 intended to remedy the situation. The author of the bill, H.R. 1288, was then-Rep. Anthony Weiner(!). A vote on it was never taken.
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