The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Wednesday asked Delta Air Lines to end its new 'Sky Team' alliance with Saudi Arabian Airlines, saying it would lead to discriminatory practices against Jewish travelers.
The request was made in writing to Delta CEO Richard H Anderson after his company effectively washed its hands of any responsibility for discrimination its Sky Team partners may engage in.
"We write on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the US, regarding Delta Air Lines’ decision to add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam in 2012," The letter began.
The ZOA letter then outlined Delta's and Saudi Arabian Airlines' respective policies, noting the official website of the Saudi Supreme Commission of Toursim "reflected that it was the policy of the Saudi Arabian government to deny visas to, among others, (1) anyone holding an Israeli passport or holding a passport with an Israeli arrival or departure stamp; and (2) 'Jewish People.'"
A US State Department report on Saudi Arabia was also referenced in the letter.
"According to the State Department, women visitors must be met by an authorized sponsor upon arriving in Saudi Arabia. A married woman must have her husband’s permission to leave Saudi Arabia – even if she is a US citizen and even if her husband does not have Saudi nationality. In addition, homosexuals are not welcome in Saudi Arabia. They have been imprisoned and even executed in Saudi Arabia," the ZOA wrote.
The ZOA, citing these facts, then asked Anderson to terminate Delta's agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Delta issued an official statement on Wednesday saying that it does not support discriminatory policies based on race, religion, gender, nationality, or age.
The airline also explained the terms of its agreement with the Saudi carrier are limited to booking services and "simply allow passengers to book tickets on multiple carriers."
While acknowledging Delta's explanation of the terms, the Zionist Organization of America, in its letter, "urge(s) Delta to retract its decision to add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam because, quite simply, it is the moral, ethical and right thing to do."
Saudi Arabian carriers regularly enact their country's discriminatory policies against Jews, other non-Muslims, and women.