On Wednesday I wrote about an American Airlines passenger being made to remove to turn their sweatshirt inside out in order to fly on American Airlines flight 2829 from New York JFK to Phoenix. The sweatshirt said “Palestine” and defined it as, in essence, the whole of Israel.
American’s policy on passenger attire says “Dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.” There’s not enough guidance to gate agents or flight attendants on what clothing is offensive, but in New York and in the aftermath of Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, the employees interpreted the policy to include a sweatshirt that appeared to promote the elimination of the Jewish state.
My younger cousin called me extremely emotional as he was told to take off his Palestine shirt or he’d be removed by authorities from his flight, SHAME on you @AmericanAir . pic.twitter.com/C8mQbgEfmw
— s (@katchmeifyakan) November 29, 2023
[A] young man who I have known most of his life informed me that on his @americanair flight AA2829 home from New York, he was instructed by a flight attendant to remove his sweater that said Palestine on it.
Does American Airlines have a bias towards Palestinians? Is there a policy that enables this kind of targeting and mistreatment?
He was devastated and felt like the erasure of Palestinians in our country has no limits. I emailed @americanair and I’m waiting for a response.
The sweatshirt is a visual representation of the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestinians will be free.” This is the same slogan that Tlaib has used repeatedly, defended, and was censured by the House of Representatives for. It does not mean Palestinian freedom or a call for a Palestinian state (such as a two-state solution).
- “From the river to the sea” means the eradication of Jews from the State of Israel.
- It’s not ‘the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem’ it calls for Palestinian dominion of the whole of Israel.
- And it is the battle cry of Hamas, that Jews must be removed from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
- It derives from the Arabic chant that translates, “from the water to the water, Palestine will remain Arab.” It is a call to ethnically cleanse non-Arabs (Jews) from the land.
It is possible that someone ‘might mean something else by it,’ but Tlaib also knows this is how it is frequently used and understood. The leader of her own party calls it divisive, hurtful, and understood to be antisemitic. Twenty two House Democrats joined Republicans in censuring her over its use.
She stands by it even knowing how it lands because she means it. She was a member of a private Facebook group including Hamas supporters and Hamas financiers have raised money for her Congressional campaigns.
While I wouldn’t have made the same decision as flight attendants on American Airlines flight 2829 – in the absence of actual conflict amongst passengers, I would have let this particular person be an idiot and support terrorist kidnappers and murderers. While American Airlines might put out a statement generally about the incident, it shouldn’t respond to Representative Tlaib.