(photo credit: STEVE FITZGERALD/WIKIMEDIA)
A New York woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Kuwait Airways for not allowing her to board a London-bound flight because of her Israeli citizenship, the New York Daily News reported on Friday.
Taking the moniker of “the Rosa Parks of international air travel,” Iris Eliazarov drew the civil rights comparison when recalling the November 1 incident.
“I take the strength from the experience of Rosa Parks,” Eliazarov said in her sworn affidavit against Kuwait Airways.
Eliazarov, a pregnant mother of four from Queens, had used her Israeli passport when boarding the plane, but was denied entry and left stranded at the airport.
When questioned on the connection between the incident at Kennedy Airport in New York to the lack of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Israel, the attorney representing the Gulf state’s airline, John Maggio, was elusive.
“I cannot confirm or deny that,” he said.
Still, Maggio remained firm that the discrimination against Eliazarov was being misrepresented. He claimed that access to the flight was denied not because of religious affiliation, but because of citizenship.
Eliazarov was born in Israel but left the country for the US at the age of 11, where she holds a green card.
The prosecution asserted that the airline’s policy was a breach of state and federal civil rights laws, a position that the Federal judge in charge of the case asked state Attorney- General Eric Schneiderman to advise on.
“I didn’t think a discrimination like this could exist in America, in JFK [Airport], in New York City,” said David Nektalov, Eliazarov’s husband. “If they want to operate here, they have to obey our laws.
Sixty years ago blacks weren’t allowed to ride buses. This is not about money. You have to make a stand.”