Flying Delta’s Friendly, Jew-Free Skies

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Is this story a proverbial tempest in a teapot? The government of Saudi Arabia issued a statement saying, “[R]umors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false. The government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion.” Yet Travel.State.Gov, a Service Bureau of Consular Affairs for the U.S. State Department, reports that “there have been reports by U.S. citizens that they were refused a Saudi visa because their passports reflected travel to Israel or indicated that they were born in Israel.” Furthermore, as this Saudi Arabian travel document reveals, divulging one’s religion is a requirement for entering the country. The Saudi Arabian embassy claims this is necessary in order to determine who is granted access — as in Muslims only — to the country’s holy sites. The embassy also explained that it does not issue visas to Israeli citizens because they do not recognize Israel itself.

Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman was not assuaged. “We understand that Delta, as any airline, is required to comply with the visa requirements of the destination country,” he wrote in a letter to Delta’s CEO. “However, Saudi Arabia’s past practice of banning travelers with an ‘Israel’ stamp in their passport from gaining entry into the country runs contrary to the spirit and intent of Delta’s non-discrimination policy.”

Still, some people think criticism of Delta is unwarranted. “Delta has been unfairly singled out,” said Jewish-American travel expert Henry Harteveldt. “We may find a lot of Saudi Arabia’s policies unpleasant and not agree with them, but any airline flying into any country is obliged to act by the rules of that country.” Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, claims he’s known Jewish-American businessmen as well as businessmen with Jewish-sounding names who were allowed entry into the country, and who were not “harassed” while they were there. Yet he admitted that “according to the State Department, no religious practices other than Islam are allowed to be practiced openly in Saudi Arabia.”  Business travel columnist Joe Brancatelli believes the story may have been blown out of proportion, yet he poses the fundamental question: “Does Delta want to be in business with an airline whose government has policies we find repugnant?”

As of now, the answer is yes. Yet in fairness, two things should be noted. One, the original report cited by many news organizations last week comes from, which has pulled the story off its website, and, which re-posted the story on Thursday, now claims the “story contained incomplete information and has been removed.” Secondly, at least one other airline, United, has a code-share agreement with SAA.

Delta, which hardly needs an additional dose of bad publicity following its decision to charge soldiers returning from Afghanistan $200 apiece for extra baggage (later rescinded), has apparently put itself in the eye of yet another self-inflicted storm. Adding to the corporate tone-deafness is their insistence on answering all criticism with the boilerplate quote, “Delta does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination…etc.,” echoed yet again by spokesman Trebor Barnstetter in an email to Fox News. And Barnstetter once again engaged in hair-splitting when he said that “Delta’s only agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines is a standard industry interline agreement,” saying further that Delta “does not intend to code-share or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines.” One can only wonder why not, if the arrangement to allow SAA to join the 14-member Sky Team Alliance is as uncontroversial as Delta claims it is.

Delta is certainly not off the hook. In response to this story, Colby M. May, director and senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice warned, “As we learn more about the issue and facts, we are determined to ensure that American citizens do not face discrimination by airlines like Delta that are passenger code-sharing with Saudi Arabian Airlines,” adding, “We will be communicating our position with members of Congress, the State Department and Delta Air Lines to ensure that the rights of American citizens are protected.”

Meanwhile, consumers will make up their own minds as to whether or not this controversy will affect their choice of carriers when they decide to fly. If reader comments at a variety of websites are any indication, Delta has another major public relations headache on its corporate hands. Although the decision to accommodate a carrier with anti-Semitic policies was surely influenced by the pressures of a weak economy and high fuel prices, measured against the cost of alienating thousands of other potential customers, Delta’s thinking becomes impossible to understand.

Arnold Ahlert is a contributor to the conservative website

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  • Robo

    I clicked on the link to Supreme Commission for Tourism and was surprised to find that I was directed, not to the Supreme Commission for Tourism, but to some other site. Then I read what was on that site and it said that these regulations were posted on the tourism Website in 2004. Shouldn't you say what is on the Website now? Its misleading.


    …..And slowly and surely the whole planet is waking up to the fact that muslim or Pure muslim is a term for a very very evil person. __"Women should be exposed to the day light three times in their lives. When they are born, when they are married and when they die." – islamic saying.__"Our mullah told us that when we carried out our suicide attacks, all the people around us would die, but we would stay alive"__If muslims could leave islam without being extinguished by other muslims how many muslims would be left on the planet ? Answer : Zero or none. It is only the threat to one's life that keeps islam evil and populated. These scared muslim slaves of invented allah are doomed forever in the dead hands of the madman who invented allah and brought a curse on everything and everyone islam touches. Islam haram. Repeat after me …islam is not halal , islam is haram. Understand?__Islam is the problem. Islam has to be abolished. As long as even one human is a muslim this planet will never see peace. Take my word for it.__Islam is the problem. Islam makes people evil. This is a fact. Evil people are a big drain to our planet’s resources like a raging fire.


    For our planet’s limited resources and our safety we should extinguish each and every fire once we have identified it as evil. Feeding a fire is suicide and not good for our planet’s resources.
    So in the end what will happen to islam? Will islam just vanish? Islam has to be abolished.


    Evil people are a big drain to our planet’s resources like a raging fire. For our planet’s limited resources and our safety we should extinguish each and every fire once we have identified it as evil.
    So in the end what will happen to islam ?
    Will islam just vanish?

    "They said nothing's better than paradise and you can earn that by extinguishing non-believers."
    "They prayed all the time and read the koran so i thought they were good people."

    So When will muslims be allowed to realise that islam is haram ?

    And how will muslims realise that islam is haram?

    Only when the SUPREME COURTS start questioning the demented koran loudly and in full hearing of the planet will muslims see mohammad’s mad trip. The answer is in and by our SUPREME COURTS ALL OVER THE WORLD in the very end.


    If people ,especially women, knew what is in the Koran, they would denounce it and then Islam would collapse the way the Soviet union did in 1989.
    Islam needs a QUIT-ISLAM movement. Not all religions garner protection under the Charter of Rights. Islam can, and should be challenged in the courts for classification as an illegal religious practice. For example, some religions practice human sacrifices, rape, sex with children, animal sacrifices, polygamy, honor killings, forcible convert, punishment with "death" for leaving islam, treatment of womans, etc. All of these religious practices lack protection under the Charter of Rights.

    These are some of the practices of Islam that warrant a finding that it is an illegal religious practice: Waging war to eliminate and subjugate non-believers; advocating the killing of apostates, Jews, Christians, and other people of different faiths who refuse to convert to Islam, discrimination based on one's gender or faith, the removal of limbs as punishment of certain crimes, and ..etc.

  • martel

    delenda est Islam

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    I always flew with DELTA but from now on I will find me another company
    without restrictions for Jews.

  • Cynic

    Apparently Delta is also cutting flights to and from Israel.

  • A Zionist

    Somehow no one has yet mentioned that Delta code-shares with the Israeli airline, El-Al. I have several times flown as a Delta passanger on El-Al planes. As for travelling to Saudi Arabia, why would any non-Muslim want to go there? You'll get arrested if you try to bring a Bible with you, and if you are a woman, you'll have to wear a burqua and forgo driving.

    • kentatwater

      I suppose the difference is that if you are a Muslim flying to Israel, THEY WON'T STOP YOU FROM GETTING ON THE PLANE!

      It is pompously disingenuous to ask why a Jew would want to fly to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps he wants to see what it's like to live in a backwards hole, propped up only with a steady influx of oil money.

      When respecting local traditions and customs, includes who you are, and what you privately believe, you have gone beyond the pale. The comparison with El-Al is an insult. Israel is a modern nation, Saudi Arabia is a third-world country with a first-world bank account.

  • Observer

    Ha. I made a decision a long time ago to stop flying Delta simply because their service sucks.

  • Monty Lasovsky

    Delta are looking to go into Chapter 11 the hard way: Carry no Indians to Pakistan,no Chinese to Taiwan, no North Koreans to South Korea, no Turks to Kurdistan, no North Americans to South America et al. In fact, why not go into Chapter 11 now and stop risking your reputation as a "no-go- anywhere airline?

  • Dispozovdaburka

    Maybe Delta will choose Iranian pilots to fly Delta planes into the black kaaba in the unholy capital of the Underwold………… Mecca.

    Goobye-Dubai !!!!!!!

  • Haiku360

    From the SkyTeam website:

    "In order to become an official member of SkyTeam, aspiring members first need to meet strict safety, quality, IT and customer service standards. Over 100 membership requirements cover different areas.

    Some examples are:

    IOSA registration
    Lounge access
    Elite recognition

    We ensure consistency by having teams of expert auditors from Member airlines perform audits, checking in detail whether the membership requirements are fulfilled before an airline can join SkyTeam."

    …so if Saudi Arabian Airlines isn't sharing reciprocal agreements with Delta or other SkyTeam members, then why are they joining…?

  • mrbean

    Do you want to understand religions? I once asked a fundamentalist if she really believed that the Earth was only 6000 tears old. She said yes. I said what about the dinosaurs? She said god put the bones there tp test our faith. Hmmm….

    • Sammy

      God is not controlled by nature. He created nature. And in doing so, he created the world as He saw fit, appearing to be much older. For example, Adam was not created as a newborn, but as a full grown man.
      Having understood this, one can understand dinosaurs, fossils appearing to be millions of years old, etc.
      God created the world 5771 years ago.

  • Matamoros

    Delta's appallingly evasive responses are reminiscent of the old comedic line attributed to Verner Von Braun when asked about the V1 and V11 rockets that rained death down on London during the Blitz. "As a rocket scientist I just send the missiles up. Where they land is not my department." I wish to thank Senator Kirk for recognizing the enormous danger this represents — making US air travel Sharia compliant — and allowing the mores of that barbarous kingdom to dicatate Delta's business practices.

  • Questions

    Another example of a major corporation's preference for switching than fighting. Sharia's going to get us all unless we engage in the latter.

  • Asher

    I won't be flying on Delta…They will definitely loose business when everyone finds this out!

  • Asher

    Maybe Delta won't mind when the Muslims start chanting Allah Akbar and scaring passengers on board their planes!

  • Moshe Pupick

    M., 06/27/11 common era

    Reform Rabbi Eric Joffe is very learned in Reform Judaism, but he is merely another useful idiot for the creeping influence of sharia law in the U.S.A.

  • fmobler

    Delta is not doing anything worse than our own government has done for decades. Elected members of our own government are not permitted to set foot in this country. Sooner or later (probably not long from now) we will elect a Jewish president of v.p. What then?

    We treat the racist Saudi regime as an ally. We are a generation overdue to call for divestment, just as we did in South Africa. Don't forget that our government and big business took a very long time to see that South African minerals were not worth supporting a racist regime. They only saw it because of some serious grass roots politics.

  • mlcblog

    …does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion or gender,”

    Delta is sounding here like every good Muslim terrorist type.

    Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths!! let them just hold it in their cheek.

  • Ghostwriter

    Why doesn't Delta paint a fools cap on the tail of it's airplanes because of the people they are currently in business with?

  • Amused

    And WHAT ABOUT THAT SAUDI ACCOUNTABILITY ACT ???? The author mentions 2007 and 2009 , but it's been a can kicked down the road since 2004 , and 2005 . So yea , what about it ? How come it hasn't passed ?

  • Amused

    As for H.R.1288 /111th Congress /2009-2010 ? Sponsored by 5 democrats ,but reffered to committee , which means it's not going anywhere at the moment , and that committee is equally comprised of republicans and democrats .As for the 2004 and 2005 legislation for Saudi Accountability ? Who are the Senate sponsors of the legislation?

    Arlen Specter R-PA, Evan Bayh D-IN, , Susan Collins – R-ME, , Tim Johnson D-SD , Patty Murray D-WA,, Russ Feingold D-WI , and Ron Ryden, D-OR .
    That didn't pass either . Go figure .

  • mrbean

    Hmmmmmmmmmm……Mr Ham is a creationist and must deny all this.

  • Fred Dawes

    DON'T GET ON Any delta plane it may have a jihadists pilot and maybe working for obama/soros

  • Fred Dawes

    I would and not allow any muslims into the USA And remove all that are here at once and that means any nut whites who have become that evil word muslims, remove Hillary to at once.

  • AlefbetJewelry

    If Israel were to ban someone for their location of birth, or their religious views, the media would have a party! Why doesn't this apply for the Saudis?

  • T_Trent

    You know, this seems so strange of Delta, what with international human rights expert Andrew Young on their advisory board.

  • Robin

    boycott delta ban burkas ban sharia deport moslems who are not apostate .