Friday, 12 Aug 2022 - 15 of Av, 5782

German airline Lufthansa apologizes for keeping more than 100 Orthodox Jews  from boarding a flight from Frankfurt to Budapest.

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“While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the noncompliant guests,” said the German airline, adding that diversity is a core company value. “We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

 

German airline Lufthansa has apologized for keeping more than 100 Orthodox Jews  from boarding a flight from Frankfurt to Budapest.

The passengers, many of whom were traveling individually and had been en route on Flight #LH1334 from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Budapest with a stopover in Frankfurt. Upon landing in Frankfurt, the group of  Jewish individuals were denied permission to continue onboard the plane as some, according to the airlines, had not followed proper mask-wearing protocols.

In a statement, Lufthansa said it “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”

The statement said that the decision to prevent the Jewish passengers from boarding their connecting flight to Budapest “was based upon various instances of non-compliance by numerous guests with mask requirements and crew-safety instructions on the previous flight LH401 from New York to Frankfurt.”

“While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of that day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the noncompliant guests,” continued the airline, adding that diversity is a core company value. “We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

‘’Lufthansa is engaging with the affected passengers to better understand their concerns and openly discuss how we may improve our customer service,” the airline said.

The Lufthansa statement said that the decision to prevent the Jewish passengers from boarding their connecting flight to Budapest “was based upon various instances of non-compliance by numerous guests with mask requirements and crew-safety instructions on the previous flight LH401 from New York to Frankfurt.”

The statement concluded with a reassurance that “what transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have zero tolerance for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any type.”

The airline’s apology comes after video surfaced of an employee telling a Jewish passenger that those who were banned are “Jewish from JFK” and that it was the “Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”

The German federal government’s anti-discrimination office has been urged to investigate the incident as a possible violation of the General Act on Equal Treatment that was approved by the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, in 2014.

A letter from Volker Beck — a former MP who works extensively on antisemitism-related issues in Germany — to the anti-discrimination office stated that the Jewish passengers prevented from boarding their flight should be compensated for having been subjected to “unjustified discrimination according to our equal treatment law.”

 Several Jewish groups have called out the airline, demanding that they address the incident.

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted: “This non-apology fails to admit fault or identify the banned passengers as Jews. It also refers to them as a group, even though many were strangers. They had one commonality—being visibly Jewish. In addition to investigating, ensuring accountability and taking steps to repair the harm, including compensating the victims to the extent possible, Lufthansa, as a German company, has a special responsibility to educate its staff.”

Many of the passengers had been traveling to the Hungarian town of  Bodrogkeresztúr, formerly Kerestir, in Hungary for the observance of the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner, known as the Kerestir rebbe.

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