Friday, June 24, 2011

Delta to offer "Jew Free" Flights to Meet Saudi Regulations

Delta will ban Jews from flights to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, Jun 24, 2011. A partnership between Delta Air Lines and Saudi Arabian Airlines will lead to what critics are calling “Jew-free flights,” with Delta barring passengers who openly identify themselves as Jews or have passports stamped with an Israeli entrance or exit visa.

The two carriers became partners in January, when the government-owned Saudi airline joined SkyTeam, the global alliance that includes Delta and more than a dozen other companies.

But the story broke this week on a blog and has spread to other, more mainstream publications, igniting a controversy and putting Delta officials on the defensive.

Although Jews have traveled to Saudi Arabia for business, anecdotal evidence suggests that the kingdom has withheld visas from travelers with Jewish-sounding names. The country also bans anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport and, in accordance with strict Islamic law, requires women entering the kingdom to be dressed modestly. In addition, say critics of the partnerships, religious articles unrelated to Islam are banned from Saudi Arabia.

President Obama and close friend King Abdullah
For Delta’s part, a spokesman for the airline said the carrier doesn’t discriminate, nor does it condone discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, nationality, religion or gender.

At the same time, international airlines “are required to comply with all applicable laws governing entry into every country” they serve, according to the spokesman, Trebor Banstetter.

He also noted that those requirements are dictated by the country’s government, not by the airlines, saying, in effect, that such matters are beyond Delta’s control.

President Barack Hussein Obama, D-Kenya, had no comment when asked about the policy of banning Jewish flyers.

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