Friend of Letters Blogatory Peter Bert has pointed me to a new decision from the Oberlandesgericht München in the Kuwait Airways affair. The airline, Kuwait’s flag carrier, refuses to carry Israeli passengers because of Kuwait’s discriminatory anti-Israeli boycott law. As I noted several years ago, the airline dropped its New York to London route rather than comply with US law on nondiscrimination by air carriers.
Today’s case refused to hold the airline liable for refusing to sell a ticket to an Israeli seeking to fly to Sri Lanka via Kuwait City. The apparent justification for the decision, if I am understanding the article correctly, is that in light of the Kuwaiti law, the airline had a defense of actual impossibility (tatsächlicher Unmöglichkeit). As I have noted before, the airline’s status as a state-owned enterprise seems to make this a difficult argument. Didn’t the Kuwaiti state create the impossibility? In any event, the root of the problem here is of course Kuwait’s law, and we should press for a repeal.