Saudi Arabia: Stop the Propaganda Against Air Passengers and the Kingdom

 

When I read an article in USA Today that states Jews or a passenger carrying a non-Islamic article of faith would not be able to fly on Delta Airlines flights from the United States to Saudi Arabia my eyebrows raised.  The article in my view has been written by someone misinformed and who seems to want to stir up negative sentiments between the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

 

Facts which I do agree with in the poorly written article meant to sensationalize are that every foreigner to the Kingdom requires a visa and a sponsor.  However Jews are not prohibited from traveling to the Kingdom.  They do as visiting scholars, specialists and speakers.  For Jews who also travel to Israel, it is known that in most cases the traveler will receive a removable page for an Israeli visa which circumvents any problems for travel elsewhere in the Middle East and particularly within the GCC.

 

Travelers to the Kingdom are allowed to bring a Bible or other faith related article with them as long as it is clearly for personal use.  Even a traveler on Saudi Airlines can have a Bible packed in their luggage.  This is why I further do not understand the alleged statements pertaining to Delta Airlines.  Airlines do not care what race or color or religion a passenger is.  The focus of the airlines is to ensure that each passenger has a valid passport and visa and met airline security checks.

 

I know that Saudi Airlines has had Jews fly its national carrier into the Kingdom and that some of the Jews were distinguished guests.  The article in USA Today sounds simply like more Saudi bashing to me.

 

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17 Responses

  1. I am aware of those who try to extract favoritism by denigrating praising others. Can a conspicuously cross-wearing-Christian be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia, let alone flying Saudi airlines?

    The only Jews who are allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia are US government’s officials and many of them are encouraged, asked, not to disclose their belief. How about people who carry bibles and other non-Muslim holy textbooks, wear star of david or carry pork, can they travel to the holy desert land?

  2. Yes, indeed, Saudi bashing.One has to go through a heap of paperwork to get into to the Kingdom, one questions will ask religious affilation. The article circulating in mass media is completly incorrect. First of all, I have know jews who have travelled to KSA and no they are not ‘officials’.
    As far asI know, as long as there is not evidence that you are dual citizen to Israel, then in should not be problem. The the State Department claimed ( at least a while back) that entering the Kingdom with an Israeli stamp has not been a problem for sometime now, although they also admiited that they were not 100 percent sure.
    I do believe that some Western governments had a talk with Saudi officials about this a long time ago and the matter seemed to have improved since then.
    As far as I know, the airlines just have the responsibilies as follows:
    A vaild visa in to the country
    A valid passport
    A round trip ticket ( if visa is not present)
    Again, the article a ‘no-jews’ was also written by a neo-conservative person. I suppose we must be weary of all the ‘news that fits that fits the print!’

  3. The article said that a previous version has been pulled. Did you read the new version or the original?

  4. I have also met Jews here who were not government officials.

  5. Perhaps regulations have changed since I first arrived here in S.A. When I first came in 1994, Bibles and Christian jewelry (cross necklaces, for example) were strictly prohibited. They were taken from you at the airport or in customs. This was no surprise, because we were told ahead of time that they were not allowed in the Kingdom at all. Some rules have been relaxed in the past couple of years, or so I’ve been told. But, I wouldn’t wear a cross in obvious sight here, nor would I carry my family Bible in my luggage. Openly showing Christian, Jewish, or Hindu symbols would not be appreciated among the masses. Also, anyone with a Jewish name was circumspect. As I said, maybe things have changed a little?

  6. Another thing – the article does appear to be inflammatory in its purpose. As if we we need more uneasiness and hatred between people. Geesh…I am sure Fox News has glommed onto it with glee.

  7. Of course, this is the price of doing business in Saudi Arabia, whose petro-blackmail allows it to function as one of the most backward and depraved closed societies on the planet. Delta, as one of the world’s largest airlines since it took over Northwest and head of the SkyTeam Alliance that Saudi Arabian Airlines is joining, has passed up a golden opportunity to insist on a higher standard of ethics and service than the Saudi airline is willing to uphold.

    The issue here is one of principle. Delta isn’t being forced to include Saudi Arabian Airlines into its Sky Team Alliance. In fact, Delta could stand on principle and refuse to include Saudi Arabian Airlines based on its discriminatory policy. No, it’s not Delta’s fault that the Saudi government is anti-Semitic, but it doesn’t have to go along with it. It’s as if the Saudis are telling Delta that when it comes to Jewish passengers it’s name should become an acronym: “Don’t Even Let Them Aboard.” :)-

    Come fly the friendly skies. That is of course unless you are a Jew (or have a jewish sounding name like mine), or carry a bible or torah or a bagvan gita with you …..

  8. @Harry Guggen,

    BINGO. Truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

  9. As for an entry Visa for our family visit …. I stated I was a Christian. I guess that was okay as my husband is Muslim. No problems and our luggage was never searched.

  10. But harry is the story even true and accurate? It seems that the story is false and that unless you are an Israeli national you can fly into/out of KSA. I mean when someone books a flight via the internet or a travel agent are they going to have to require proof of religious affiliation???

  11. Airlines can’t police that kind of thing and especially American airlines.Then again considering how a certain American pilot refused to fly some Muslim men in the very recent past perhaps some American airlines would be stupid enough to police who flies to KSA. If there is going to be a problem it will be at point of country entry.

  12. I just traveled to Spain to attend an American organized conference. I was booked through a travel agency in Canada and before any steps can be taken to facilitate my travel I had to provide them with my passport information, nationality, identity and everything you could imagine.

    Saudi Arabia is one of the most difficult countries to travel to, even when a person has a sponsor. If you are a woman, don’t try without a husband.

  13. Jews can fly to Saudi and on Saudia. Also people with Jewish sounding names. Israelis can’t. Countries without diplomatic relations often face these situations. I think there are many issues to deal with anytime you have a closed society like Saudi Arabia- but this is just a bunch of fuss about nothing.

    Women do come in without husbands. All the time. To work. Not as tourists. Though occasionally as part of a tour group.

  14. Of course, if Delta really did that- shame on them. But something I read somewhere else indicated to me they did not.

  15. I read a similar article recently and my jaw dropped! I don’t know if it’s true or not, but the very idea of it is more than a bit distressing, so I do hope it is false. If not, Delta is likely to drown in a flood of lawsuits. I’m with Harry Guggen – either way, it sounds like there has definitely been a missed opportunity to discuss certain backwards discriminatory policies. Gotta love that almighty dollar :-S

  16. I have no doubt that this matter will not quietly go away. The fact that the article appeared in the “mainstream” media and then suddenly yanked away tells me that there is more to it than it meets this kafir’s eyes, at least.

    The Jewish community will not feel comfortable flying Delta knowing about its new association with Saudi Arabian Airlines. The American Center for Law and Justice has already taken up this issue and I have no doubt that organizations like the Anti-Defamation League will not be far behind.

  17. @Harry, but Saudia didn’t do anything to Jews? Delta might have but what did Saudia do?

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