Orthodox Jewish passengers wait in line after being barred from boarding a connecting Lufthansa flight to Budapest.

Lufthansa is to appoint an antisemitism officer, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The German airline will also introduce antisemitism training and adopt the IHRA’s antisemitism definition.
The measures follow an incident in May that saw more than 100 Jewish passengers barred from a connecting flight.

German airline Lufthansa is set to appoint an antisemitism officer after more than 100 Jewish passengers were barred from a flight in May of this year, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

The senior management role is being created “for the prevention of discrimination and antisemitism” and will be introduced alongside a new staff training on antisemitism, the JTA reported.

Lufthansa will also adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, the JTA said, which has already been adopted by the European Parliament and other international bodies.

The revelation of the new actions to combat antisemitism comes from a letter dated July 22 sent to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by Lufthansa CEO Jens Ritter, per the JTA.

The letter acknowledged that some Lufthansa staff had been “insensitive and unprofessional” but ultimately concluded that an investigation did not find evidence of institutional antisemitism at the airline, the JTA reported.

Lufthansa did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment by phone and email.

Department of Transportation, civil rights complaints table, May 2022

The investigation was looking into an incident in May, which Insider reported on, that saw more than 100 visibly Jewish passengers denied from boarding a connecting flight. 

The passengers were barred from taking a connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary— where they were traveling as part of an annual pilgrimage to commemorate the death of a famous rabbi.

Speaking to Insider, a passenger on the flight described the incident as racial profiling to “the highest degree I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”

Another passenger, Yitzy Schmidt, told Insider: “I was guilty by association, and that association is being an Orthodox Jew.”

Lufthansa initially defended the decision, saying it was because passengers had refused to comply with mask-wearing regulations.

However, after videos emerged of the incident, the airline said it “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”

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