In case you hadn’t seen, the government of the United Arab Emirates refused to grant a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer to play in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai. The reason why I’m writing about this anti-semitic bunch of nonsense is because there is an airline angle to this story: Emirates Airlines is wholly owned by the government of Dubai. The same government that decided not to give an Israeli a visa to play tennis based solely on her religion and where she lives.
Regardless of how you feel about what’s going on in Israel and the West Bank, this is a ridiculous display by a government that has been granted plenty of leeway in how it deals with migrant workers (appalling) and the Israel issue (pretty much don’t ask, don’t tell – until now).
The good news is that you can do something about it. You can start by not flying Emirates. If going to Dubai, Delta offers nonstops from Atlanta. Quick connections are available on a bunch of carriers that don’t represent governments that discriminate based on religion (yes, yes, I know that the US government hasn’t been particularly welcoming to Muslims…two wrongs don’t make a right).
You have a second option on nearly every route Emirates flies – given the goverment’s behavior, I recommend choosing one of those other options. The UAE relies on tourism and continued real estate growth – not oil – for their wealth. Travelers can actually make an impact by not visiting and not flying their airline. Don’t reward Emirates for discrimination.