Category Archives: Press Releases

The Lawfare Project Announces New Case Against Kuwait Airways In Germany

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project has announced that it has filed a new case against Kuwait Airways in Germany, over the airline’s policy of antisemitic discrimination on its flights. The case is being brought by a Frankfurt based Israeli businessman who booked a flight from Munich to Sri Lanka in November last year, only to be denied the right to travel.

This is the second case in which The Lawfare Project has represented Israelis barred from traveling in Germany by Kuwait Airways. A previous case originally brought in 2017 involving the same discriminatory policy triggered outcry in Germany and remains under review by Germany’s Constitutional High Court.

The plaintiff in the new case, known as Shmuel M, booked business class tickets from Munich to Colombo, which was the quickest flight to Sri Lanka available from that airport. When Shmuel M asked about the availability of kosher food on the flight, the airline asked whether he held an Israeli passport. When he confirmed that he did, he was told that he would be unable to travel and would need to speak to the airline’s lawyers for further information.

As a result, Shmuel M is suing Kuwait Airways with The Lawfare Project providing his legal representation. The case has been filed at the Landshut District Court, which has jurisdiction over Munich International Airport. Kuwait Airways is yet to reply to the claims writ. It is likely that a hearing will take place later this year.

Kuwait Airways has previously justified its discrimination by citing a decades-old Kuwaiti law that bans all Kuwaiti citizens and companies from doing any business with citizens of the Jewish state.

On past occasions, legal pressure from The Lawfare Project against Kuwait Airways in the U.S. and Switzerland led to the airline canceling its NYC-London flights, and all its inter-European flights, rather than compromise its discriminatory practices.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, the legal think tank and litigation fund representing the plaintiff, said:

“Time and again Kuwait Airways has shown itself to be a bigoted airline with a bigoted policy that should have no place in a modern liberal democracy. An airline that kicks Israelis off planes should be kicked out of Germany.

When a Jewish passenger is denied the right to travel after requesting a kosher meal, in Germany of all places, then anyone who respects the values of equality, fairness, and the rule of law should be appalled.”

Nathan Gelbart, The Lawfare Project’s German counsel, said:

“If Kuwait Airways wishes to continue operating in Germany then the message should be clear: carry everyone or carry no one. There can be no discrimination against Jews on German soil. As long as we permit an airline to advertise flights for everyone except Israelis it is a stain on the moral fabric of our country.”

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About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.

Hearing Takes Place At European Court Of Justice In Landmark Case Against Discriminatory Labeling Of Israeli Products

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

A hearing took place yesterday at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in a landmark case against the discriminatory labeling of Israeli products. The case was referred to the ECJ by the French Conseil d’État. It was brought by Psâgot Winery Ltd, an Israeli wine producer and exporter, together with The Lawfare Project, a U.S.-based think tank and litigation fund that files cases against anti-Semitic discrimination around the world.

Psâgot and The Lawfare Project, represented by French Supreme Court law firm Cabinet Briard, challenged an opinion published by the French Minister of Economics and Finance in November 2016. The Minister’s opinion stated that products from the Golan Heights or West Bank have to be labeled as coming from Israeli settlements (“colonies Israéliennes”) or equivalent terms.

At yesterday’s hearing, counsel for Psâgot—François-Henri Briard, Supreme Court Attorney of France—strongly argued that the insistence on applying the label of “colonies Israéliennes” goes beyond the law. The law was not designed for such political labeling but to provide fair and clear information for consumers. Polling carried out last year among French consumers revealed that they had very little interest in the politicized labeling of products.

Furthermore, argued Briard, applying the law in such a way would open a “Pandora’s Box,” requiring extremely complex labeling for products from over 100 different territories around the world where there are territorial disputes.

The three-hour hearing was presided over by President of the European Court, Koen Lenaerts, who also heard from representatives of Sweden, Ireland, and France. These three countries’ governments argued strongly in favor of discriminatory labeling, falsely implying that Israel does not exercise authority over these territories in the context of trade.

The ECJ Advocate General will publish his opinion on June 14, 2019. A decision from the Court is expected a few weeks after that, which would interpret EU law on the issue for all EU member states, including France, which referred the case. As a result, the Court’s decision will have landmark implications across the EU regarding the discriminatory labeling of Israeli products.

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, said:

Of the hundreds of territorial disputes around the world, it is Israeli businesses alone that find themselves targeted by these unnecessary and politicized labeling requirements. The importance of the Court’s decision shouldn’t be overstated: it will either end this double standard against Israel or legitimize it across Europe. I hope the Court grasps this opportunity to end the double standard.

François-Henri Briard, attorney before the French Supreme Courts and counsel for Psâgot, said:

I am confident that the ECJ will be very careful to keep its interpretation of EU law within a legal framework, without making foreign policy. The purpose of the EU rules is to protect health for consumers and to provide fair information on food products; they have nothing to do with political geography. The attempts of the European Commission to justify the use of the word “colony,” using an argument based on social and ethical consumer information, goes beyond EU text and looks like an awkward legal framework; I do not think the ECJ will follow such poor and political argument.

About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.

Belgium’s Constitutional Court Refers Appeal Against Kosher Slaughter Ban For Additional Review By European Court Of Justice, CCOJB And The Lawfare Project To Continue Legal Fight

The Lawfare Project

The Lawfare Project

Belgium’s Constitutional Court ruled today that it needed to suspend the legal process in order to check the legality of the bans on religious slaughter passed in 2017 by the parliaments of Flanders and Wallonia. Following the passing of the discriminatory legislation, the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB) filed a lawsuit against the ban with support from The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and litigation fund that files legal cases against anti-Jewish discrimination around the world.

The Court decided that it needs to check whether the bans on religious slaughter are compatible with European law. European legislation allows for religious slaughter as an exception to the rule of prior stunning, provided that religious slaughter is operated in an approved slaughterhouse.

The CCOJB and The Lawfare Project maintain that, while the ban was implemented with the stated purpose of animal welfare, that argument is flawed because animal welfare has always been central to the laws of kosher practice.

“We have been involved in this case since the start,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project. “We will continue to work to ensure kosher slaughter is not banned.”

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About The Lawfare Project: Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit www.thelawfareproject.org.

Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino: ‎

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defense Didier Reynders today in Washington. January marked the start of Belgium’s sixth term on the UN Security Council, and the two discussed critical areas for global security cooperation, including burden sharing, next steps on the political process in Venezuela, threats posed by China and Iran, and Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.

Government Urges Businesses To Prepare For Changes To Animal Imports And Exports In A No-Deal Brexit

Guidance published today will help minimise disruption and allow continued movement of goods

Marsham Street

Marsham Street

New guidance has been published today to ensure import and export trade in animals, animal products, fish, food and feed can continue in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

This guidance will help to minimise disruption for users and allow the continued movement of goods, while helping to maintain our biosecurity, food safety and high standards of animal welfare.

In the event of no deal, to continue to export to the EU we will need to be listed by the EU as a third country. Negotiations are under way to secure this listing and we are confident it will be in place before we leave the EU.

In a no-deal exit the process for exporting and importing the products above but will change in the following ways:

  • As we’ve said previously, businesses exporting all animals, animal products and fish to the EU will now need to apply for an Export Health Certificate (EHC) before they export. This will make them the same as businesses who export these goods to the rest of the world who already have to apply for EHCs. They will also need to make sure their trade route passes through a Border Inspection Posts when entering Europe as well as being aware of wider customs requirements. The guidance and certificates are available for download from today ahead of use on exit day.
  • For those businesses importing to the UK, there will not be any new checks or requirements but importers will need to notify authorities using a new process. Businesses will need to use a new system called the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System’ (IPAFFS). This will help to minimise disruption for users, allow the continued movement of goods and help to maintain our biosecurity and food safety.
  • Businesses importing animals and animal products from within the EU will need to use a separate interim system until the summer.

Food and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said:

Our top priority remains delivering a negotiated deal, but it is the job of a responsible Government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.

If you or your business export or import animals and animal products or imports high risk food and feed you will need to prepare for a number of changes in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Our new guidance pages on gov.uk make clear what you need to do to be ready to continue to trade after we leave the EU.

To summarise the guidance published today, those who export animals, animal products, fish, should:

  • Download EHC certificates;
  • Arrange inspections by an authorised signatory for the EHC, such as an Official Veterinarian (OV), in advance of exports;
  • Familiarise themselves with a new helpful tool to find authorised signatories in England, Scotland and Wales
  • Review the current list of EU Border Inspection Posts on GOV.UK to help plan their journeys; and
  • If exporting most fish and fish products between the UK and EU you will need a catch certificate. Guidance is available at exporting and importing fish if there’s no Brexit deal.

Those who import animals, animal products, fish, food and feed should:

  • Read the guidance about how to import when the UK leaves the EU;
  • If importing high-risk food and feed not of animal origin, ensure that those consignments enter the UK at a Designated Point of Entry (DPE) which are available on the Food Standards Agency’s website;
  • If importing from the rest of the world via the EU, make sure that those consignments enter the UK at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) or a Designated Point of Entry (DPE); and
  • If importing most fish and fish products between the UK and EU you will need a catch certificate Guidance is available at exporting and importing fish if there’s no Brexit deal.

The IPAFFS system, which will replicate the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) process currently used by importers to notify authorities of imports of animal products, and high-risk food and feed from non-EU countries, will be operational for businesses importing from outside the EU on Day 1. Businesses importing animals and animal products from within the EU will need to use a separate interim system until the summer.

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