Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does Emirates allow Jews to board?

I just finished reading Dick Morris' best-selling book Fleeced. In discussing former President Bill Clinton's profitable speaking fees and Clinton Presidential Library contributors, Morris mentioned Dubai and wrote that Dubai does not allow Jews to enter the country. So I wonder what the policy of the national airline of Dubai is. This airline, Emirates, operates nonstop flights between JFK International Airport and Dubai. I would think that the U.S. State Department would require airlines operating from American gateways to observe American non-discrimination laws. That would mean that Jews and passengers with Israeli stamps in their passports, as well as Israeli citizens, would be entitled to seats on Arab state-owned aircraft. I guess I'm wrong. (For the record, I had a problem with South African Airways operating in Atlanta until the apartheid regime abandoned its rule.) Emirates does allow passengers to make connections at Dubai International Airport (DXB) without holding a visa to enter Dubai. So I tried to find clues on the Emirates website that would suggest its Arab boycott participation: no Jews on board, no Israelis on board, no one with Israeli stamps in their passports on board. It's very subtle. Here are stated reasons for refusal to board. See if you can read between the lines:

7.1.1 refusal to carry is necessary in order to comply with any applicable government laws, regulations, orders or governmental policy; or

7.1.5 carriage of you and/or your Baggage may endanger or adversely and materially affect, or has endangered or adversely and materially affected, the safety, health, or security of the aircraft, other Passengers or members of the crew, or the comfort
of other Passengers aboard the aircraft; or

7.1.12 you appear, in our exclusive opinion, not to meet requisite visa requirements or not to have valid or lawfully acquired travel documents or to have acquired them by fraudulent means or you wish to travel to or enter a country through which you
may be in transit for which you do not have valid travel documents or meet the requisite visa requirements, or you destroy your travel documents aboard the aircraft or between check-in and boarding, or you refuse to allow us to copy your travel documents, or you refuse to surrender your travel documents to the flight crew, against receipt, when so requested; or

7.1.13 we have been informed (orally or in writing) by immigration or other authorities of the country to which you are travelling or through which you may intend to transit, or of a country in which you have a Stopover planned, that you will not be permitted entry to such country even if you have valid travel documents;

All these excuses give Emirates an "easy-out." The airline can say:

1. Our government does not allow us to seat you.
2. Your presence would make our Arab and Muslim passengers uncomfortable.
3. Your presence would make our aircraft a target for Arab (I mean, international) terrorism.
4. You do not qualify for a visa into Dubai, so we will not seat you, regardless of your intentions of entering Dubai.
5. Even if you possess documents allowing you to enter Dubai, by 7.1.13 we reserve the right to refuse to seat you.

I wonder how often this happens at JFK--every flight?--and if the airline springs for the $45 taxi ride back to Manhattan.

The Emirates' website accepts inquiries (or "enquiries," as it would probably call them) in limited subjects, and "Jews on aircraft" is not one of them. I selected "Booking query" and asked about Jews and Israeli passport stamps. I also posed a question to the Twitter feed of the Burj Hotel, that supposedly only-one-in-the-world seven-star luxury hotel in Dubai. No reply.

Information taken from Emirates' website.

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