Last week Lufthansa bans Jews off of a New York JFK – Frankfurt flight from continued travel for a 24 hour period, after some passengers on board didn’t comply with mask rules and other crewmember instructions.
Non-Jews violating mask rules weren’t prevented from taking their connections. And the ban included passengers who could be identified as likely Jewish, even if they hadn’t broken any rules.
The German flag carrier scapegoated Jewish passengers and practiced collective guilt. Here’s a Lufthansa representative explaining that it’s Jews that caused problems, so the airline banned Jews from travel.
Passenger: The non-Jewish people on the flight went. Why are only the Jewish people paying for other people’s crimes?
Lufthansa: Because it’s Jews coming from JFK.
…Passenger: I’m like shocked beyond, never in my adult life. I’ve never heard this.
Lufthansa: If you want to do it like this, Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.
The airline’s first statement was to blame the victim, saying they had simply kept non-compliant passengers off the next flight. That turned out not to be true, and there was too much video of the incident which turned out to have legs in the media, so they’re now offering something of an apology.
Lufthansa regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude passengers from flight LH 1334 on May 4. Lufthansa sincerely apologizes. Please find our statement below: pic.twitter.com/yGXoD62QY1
— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) May 10, 2022
Lufthansa “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight” but nowhere in their statement do they say the word “Jews.” Instead they simply refer to “a large group” though they at least now acknowledge that this ‘group’ that shall not be named was banned whether or not any individual had acted improperly.
They apologize for “the offense caused and personal impact” while stating their ‘core values’ of ‘diversity and equal opportunity.’ They’re unwilling to simply say anti-semitism is unacceptable at Lufthansa. They felt the need to couch it in terms of their opposition to racism and to discrimination “of any type” though no other type was at issue here.
The airline wants to “better understand” the “concerns” of affected passengers and “improve [its] customer service.” But this misses the point entirely, as does discussion of whether compensation will be forthcoming to the passengers improperly denied boarding on Lufthansa flights (certainly their additional out of pocket expenses for lodging or new flights should be reimbursed). That’s not where this should end.
While neither excuses Lufthansa’s behavior, One Mile at a Time was “pleasantly surprised” by Lufthansa’s apology and Live and Let’s Fly calls the statement “a real apology.” I don’t think these takes are correct.
Lufthansa was effectively nationalized during the pandemic. The German government is its largest shareholder. Any statement should forcefully state that the company and its key shareholder will be looking at why was a decision made to identify Jews (and only Jews) for collective punishment? And why did Lufthansa’s company culture allow it, and even initially defend it? There should be several senior-level resignations taking responsibility for the chain of events. The company’s CEO should be accountable.