A group of Jewish teenage girls who were escorted off two Delta/KLM airplanes in Amsterdam last summer are suing the airlines, claiming they suffered antisemitic discrimination, Hamodia reported.
The teenagers – part of a group of 56 girls and chaperones – were escorted off a flight from Kyiv last August after they arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, accused of misbehavior and not following mask protocols.
A spokesperson from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines accused the group of not complying with coronavirus measures during the flight, Netherlands News Live reported at the time.
But Herman Loonstein, the lawyer who represented the girls immediately after the incident, responded that their treatment was “disproportionate” and that because KLM does not serve kosher meals on European flights, the girls ran in to trouble when they attempted to remove their masks to eat their own kosher food.
“After spending two weeks on a religious and educational tour to pay tribute to their Jewish heritage, to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust, and to honor the millions of Jewish families who perished or whose lives were destroyed at the hands of antisemitic murderers, Plaintiffs suffered a devastating reminder at the hands of Delta Airlines and KLM Airlines that antisemitism and discrimination against the Jewish race continues in 2021,” the lawsuit alleged.
It was filed by Herrick, Feinstein LLP on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York on behalf of 19 plaintiffs, mainly from New York, who were participants in the tour of European Jewish sites in July and August.
When the girls arrived in Amsterdam, they were forbidden from catching their connecting flight to New York. Instead, they had to sleep in the Amsterdam airport overnight. The next day, they were allowed to take a different flight to New York. But they were also removed from that flight, supposedly after some of the girls switched seats with other passengers so the passengers could sit with their relatives.
They then had to spend Shabbat in Europe, and were only able to get a flight home on a United Airlines plane from Brussels to Newark Airport on Sunday.
Their lawsuit claims that the girls were kicked off the flights and faced harassing behavior from airlines employees due to antisemitic discrimination.
They are asking for compensatory and punitive damages and for the Delta/KLM to comply with U.S. federal and state anti-discrimination law, and to be prohibited from “discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion, and in particular, discriminating against Jewish persons.”
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)