Delta Airlines, in its new alliance with Saudi Arabian Airlines, might wind up making a bargain shocking Jews and Christians — no Jews, no Bibles on board to the desert kingdom.
[A] letter from a Delta spokesperson insist[s] that the airline doesn’t discriminate but noting that “Delta must also comply with all applicable laws in every country it serves” and that “If a passenger travels without proper documents, the passenger may be denied entry into that country and our airline may be fined.” In other words, if the Kingdom has a “no Jews allowed” policy then Delta, however reluctantly, has a “no Jews allowed” policy.
And in fact, the Kingdom does have a policy like that — or rather, it did. Any old-school blog readers out there remember back in 2004 when the Saudi tourism website listed “Jewish People” as one of the four groups to whom visas wouldn’t be granted? That language was eventually scrubbed from the website after the media noticed and pressure was brought to bear by, er, Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Weiner wasn't all bad.
But as noted in the USA Today piece quoted above, Jews apparently do enter the Kingdom sometimes. In fact, via Dave Kopel, Joshua Muravchik received a visa in 2007 despite listing his religion as “Jewish.” So there may not be any hard-and-fast “no Jews allowed” rule. More likely, there’s an unofficial, arbitrary “few Jews allowed” policy, with Saudi authorities admitting Jewish visitors only if they think it’s somehow in their interest to do so.
First and foremost, I think one of the most important things to mention here is that Delta does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against anyone in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender.
That said, some have raised questions about whether Saudi Arabian Airlines’ membership in SkyTeam means Delta is adopting any type of policies that could present barriers to travel for some passengers, including Jewish customers. For this particular concern, it’s important to realize that visa requirements to enter any country are dictated by that nation’s government, not the airlines, and they apply to anyone entering the country regardless of whether it’s by plane, bus or train.
We, like all international airlines, are required to comply with all applicable laws governing entry into every country we serve. You as passengers are responsible for obtaining the necessary travel documents, such as visas and certification of required vaccinations
Hmmm. Let's discuss.
"We, like all international airlines, are required to comply with all applicable laws..."
Just following orders...
"...governing entry into every country we serve"
Delta is free to choose which countries they serve.
"...we’re responsible for making sure that you have the proper documentation before you board."
'Welcome to Delta Airlines. Please watch your step getting on the trains...'
They don’t condone discrimination against any religion — unless the price is right, I guess.
Two points, then. First, needless to say, this will end in utter disaster for Delta. I doubt we’ll even need to get to the boycott stage before they reverse course. The PR damage will be such that they’ll either pull the plug on their partnership with the Kingdom or the Kingdom itself will issue reassurances that Jewish tourists from America are always welcome (even though they really aren’t)...Only when they throw something at us that’s so sickening in its echoes of Third Reich policy that it can’t be ignored do they pay a real price. Given that standard, I’m not surprised that they thought they could get away with this too.
Allahpundit has some interesting questions:
Exit question one: What do other airlines do about their own flights to the Kingdom? United flies there, for instance. Is there some special “no Jews allowed” policy for their flights? Exit question two: Is there any other form of discrimination that Delta would tolerate in a business partner?...All of which is to say, the problem here isn’t whether Delta or United will fly a passenger to Riyadh who can’t get a visa because he’s Jewish. The problem is that there are some passengers who can’t get a visa because they’re Jewish, and Delta and presumably United are nonetheless happy to continue to do business with the Kingdom.
The right thing to do is:
1) Delta Airlines needs to inform Saudi officials that the airline does not do business with anti-Semites. The Saudis should be instructed to take in hand their contract with Delta, fold it, and shove it.
2) Delta airlines needs to inform those in their employ who made this agreement that they need to seek employment elsewhere.
3) Americans need to not fly on Delta airlines until the Saudis have filed the Delta contract where it belongs and Delta has released from its employ the quislings who made this agreement. Perhaps, Americans just need not to fly on Delta, period. There are plenty of airlines. Why fly with an airline that profits from the ugliest form of hate?
4) A suggestion to help prevent this kind of misunderstanding in the future:
All Americans who travel to Saudi Arabia should, immediately upon arrival, walk up to the first Saudi official they see and declare:
"I am a Jew"