Two days ago, on Thursday, Flying With Fish wrote Delta “No Jews” Policy – Could This Story Be More Wrong?, in response to an article by Rabbi Jason Miller, published by the Huffington Post.
Rabbi Miller’s article was full of misinformation, even on some of the most basic points. Yesterday, Friday, Rabbi Miller took the time to post comments to the Delta “No Jews” Policy – Could This Story Be More Wrong? blog post, defending his article with seven talking points to support his argument.
Rather than leave Rabbi Miller’s comment buried among comments of this post, the Rabbi’s entire follow argument is being published in this post below.
A few points of clarification.
1) Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam Alliance and is the one who is sending out press releases welcoming Saudi Arabian Airlines into that alliance. In fact, Delta is excited about this partnership because it’s good for business.
Reply 1) Delta Air Lines is a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, along with Air France (now Air France–KLM) and Korean Air. As a member of SkyTeam, Delta should in fact put out a press release every time a new airline is voted into SkyTeam and every time a new airline joins SkyTeam. Releases similar to Delta’s regarding Saudi Arabian Airlines were sent out in January from multiple SkyTeam members, as would be expected.
2) My argument (I am clear on my blog) is that Delta Airlines (which operates a hub 30 minutes from my home) is “getting into bed” with an Airline that has a policy of not allowing travelers to board without a visa from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. That Kingdom does not allow individuals with an Israeli stamp on its passport to get a visa. It also doesn’t allow Jewish people to get a visa (it asks for religion in its visa application).
Reply 2) Your argument that Delta is getting into bed with an airline that has a policy of not allowing travelers to board flights without a visa from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is severely flawed in a number of aspects. Delta is already “in bed” with two Chinese airlines, China Eastern and China Southern. Flights to the People’s Republic of China require all passengers to have a visa to board the aircraft (with the exception of passengers in transit, same as Saudi Arabia). Flights other countries, such as India for example, have the same visa requirements for passengers to be allowed to board a flight. Why have you not previously called out Delta for flying to Dubai, a nation that does not grant entry to Israeli passports (with limited exceptions)?
There are a number of countries that do not allow passengers to enter with Israeli passports, due to political reasons. Why are you not calling out US Airways who flies codeshare routes with Qatar Airways, when Qatar does not accept Israeli passports (with limited exceptions). US Airways is also partnered with Air China and soon to be Air India, both airlines that do not allow passengers to board their flights without visas.
Have you started a campaign for United Airlines to cease its non-stop flights to China and India, who require a visa for entry, subject to the approval of their governments? Why not challenge United Airlines for flying to Dubai, a nation that does not accept Israeli passports (with limited exceptions?) Why not call on United Airlines to cease its relationship with the UAE’s Emirates and Qatar’s Qatar Airways?
I can go on, but I am sure you see where I am going with this.
3) Are there Jews who have traveled to Saudi Arabia on business? Yes. They make exceptions for businessmen who are doing work there — it benefits the Kingdom.
Reply 3) The only visas granted for Saudi Arabia are : Business; Diplomatic & Official; Employment; Extension of Exit or Re-Entry; Family; Government; Residence; Student; Transit (longer than 18 hours or exiting airport) ; Temporary Work; Hajj; Umrah; Newborn Saudi Resident … so what Visa are you suggesting people apply for?
Of course the Saudi government allows business visas to Jews when it benefits The Kingdom. That is how business works.
4) Saudi Arabia does ask for religion on its 18 hour transit visa app, and they explicitly stated years ago that they ban “Jewish people.” They removed it from their website after criticism.
Reply 4) Saudi Arabia requires no visa for passengers in transit via Saudi Arabia, staying in Saudi Arabia for 18 hours or less, who are not exiting the airport. Given that there is no visa for in-transit passengers, there is no visa application Your information regarding transit visas is entirely incorrect.
5) Here’s a link to Kathy Johnston’s letter (representing Delta Customer Service). If you think I misquoted Ms. Johnston’s letter, just read the letter in its entirety here: http://www.wnd.com/images/misc/062211grandy2.jpg
Reply 5) Your copy of Ms. Johnston’s letter affirms my statement that a portion of quotes in your article contain statements added by you, that appear to be official statements from Delta. This is both unethical and misleading to those reading your article.
6) Just because other airlines have a similar policy doesn’t make it right.
Reply 6) These policies are not airline policies, they are international travel policies. Each nation has the right to impose their own policies and in fact the United States has very stringent visa policies for many foreign nationalities around the world seeking to enter the United States
To take this argument one step further, Israel has a policy of denying entry at its borders from foreign visitors who say they are visiting the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s policy violates international law as it is in direct violation of the 1995 Oslo II Accord. This Israeli policy impacts U.S. citizens traveling in Israel and has resulted in some from flying home on their scheduled El Al flights.
7) Even if Delta doesn’t actually fly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they give Sky Miles to an airline that does. That’s a partnership.
Reply 7) Delta has a partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines once the airline joins SkyTeam. Saudia is in the process of being privatized, and once it is it will still be subject to the international customs and immigrations of laws its home nation and each nation it serves upon arrival in those nations.