Multiple Jewish organizations claim more than 100 Jewish passengers weren’t allowed to go on a connecting flight from Frankfort to Budapest for a religious pilgrimage.
Following the incident, German airline Lufthansa issued an apology Tuesday after it was accused of refusing a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers to board a flight.
The group of Orthodox Jewish men was flying from the John F. Kennedy International Airport to Budapest, Hungary. However, they were denied from taking the connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany.
The purpose of the trip by this group, which consisted of around 150 Orthodox Jewish men, was to visit Kerestir, Hungary, as part of the annual pilgrimage to honor the death of a Jewish scholar.
Nonetheless, since under German law, Lufthansa still requires its passengers to wear a face mask, they were not permitted to board.
Commenting on the matter, other passengers who were on the same flight confirmed for Hamodia that only a couple of persons were not wearing a mask, suggesting that the others were following the mask rule.
It was revealed that on Wednesday morning, the group of the Orthodox Jews was praying while the other passengers were boarding. According to Hamodia, the agents of Lufthansa told the members of the group that they would be unable to attend the flight due to operational reasons.
An agent of Lufthansa said that only Jewish passengers remained at the gate:
“Due to operational reasons coming from the flight from New York, for all passengers here, we have to cancel you on this flight.”
The Jewish passengers complained that the decision of the airline to not allow boarding to them was because they were Jews. According to them, there is no other reason why they would be denied boarding.
Now, a new video related to the incident is making rounds on social media. The video, first reported and shared by the discount travel website Dan’s Deals, was posted to YouTube and Instagram, where it sparked angry comparisons to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.
The video, blurred because it is illegal to record someone without their consent in Germany, was taken down for violating YouTube and Instagram’s hate speech policies. It is still available on Twitter.
Don’t stay silent on #AntiSemitism!
— DansDeals (@DansDeals) May 9, 2022
The passengers were also banned from purchasing another ticket to Budapest for 24 hours.
In a statement, the airline acknowledged denying boarding to a large number of people and said it regrets the circumstances surrounding the event. The decision, it said, “resulted from multiple incidents of non-compliance with crew safety instructions, including not wearing masks.”
Lufthansa said it’s still reviewing what happened and it apologizes to the passengers, adding that it has “zero tolerance for racism, antisemitism, and discrimination of any type.”