Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the White House’s new special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, blasted Lufthansa for banning all visibly Jewish passengers from boarding a flight after several were accused of not following mask protocols.
Lufthansa was guilty of “classical antisemitism,” the special envoy told NBC News.
Lipstadt’s office at the State Department is “very concerned” about the May 4 incident and has been in touch with the German government, especially as it involved U.S. citizens.
She described the airline targeting all Jewish passengers as “unbelievable” in her first television interview since taking up her position.
“[When] I first heard it, I said, ‘Oh, this must be wrong. Someone must be misreporting this.’ And then of course, it turned out to be precisely right – and worse than we even thought,” she said. “If any airline had done it, it would have been outrageous. But the terrible, awful irony of it coming from the German national airline was outrageous.”
Lipstadt called what occurred “classical prejudice” in which every Jew is blamed for the actions of a few.
“A Black teenager gets in trouble. Instead of saying a teenager got in trouble, you say, ‘Oh, well that’s how Blacks are.’ A Jew does something? ‘That’s how Jews are,’” Lipstadt said. “A small number of people do something wrong and you claim that that’s the whole group.”
Following the outrage over the antisemitic incident, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr apologized in a conversation with the Chief Rabbi of Berlin, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal.
"Antisemitism has no place in Lufthansa," Spohr said. "What happened should not have happened. Our company represents a connection between people, cultures and nations. Openness and tolerance are the cornerstones and there is no room for antisemitism."
Rabbi Teichtal told the Lufthansa CEO: "If an employee wearing a Lufthansa uniform acts in an inappropriate manner – fears and accusations of antisemitism are completely legitimate. We should expect more sensitivity from a German corporation."
(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.)