It was all over the blogo-, Twitter-, and other sort-of-spheres last night: Due to a partnership with Saudi Arabian Arilines, Delta won’t fly Jews to the Kingdom. Want to fly Delta from JFK to Riyadh? If you’re a man, better be prepared to drop trou and show you’re uncut; if you’re a woman, well, why are you flying to Saudi Arabia? [UPDATE: Yes, I was and am aware that Muslim men are also circumcised, as Dan notes. Apologies for the sloppy joke.)
It’s not clear whether Delta’s partnership (one of many for an airline) requires it to deny Jews admission to any Delta flights to Saudi Arabia, as one rabbi alleged in HuffPo; or if Delta merely remains bound by all the laws of the countries to and from which it flies, and that Saudi Arabia as a policy denies entry to Israelis or those with Israeli stamps in their passports and (reportedly) sometimes to those with Jewish-sounding names, as a Delta spokesperson maintained. Either way, Delta should be held to account, right? “Delta could stand on principle and refuse to include Saudi Arabian Airlines based on its discriminatory policy,” the rabbi, Jason Miller, argued. “No, it’s not Delta’s fault that the Saudi government is anti-Semitic, but it doesn’t have to go along with it.”
Valid point. But, the possibility of Delta being forced to screen passengers beforehand (in violation of U.S. law?) due to this new partnership is in fact a welcome dialectical development, a shattering of false, nay blind consciousness, and a heightening of the realities and the contradictions so that they are high enough for everyone to see. Saudi Arabia is a major U.S. ally, despite its anti-Semitism (and, sure, animus toward Israel); sponsorship of terrorism (who do you think gave Al Qaeda its seed money?); and misogyny (the Saudi ban on women driving has been much in the news lately). We depend on Saudi Arabia as a check on Iran, we depend on it to keep the oil flowing, and did I mention the oil part? Nobody can claim ignorance of the quid pro quos and the double standards involved in the relationship. And yet we persist, pausing only to chastise Delta for reminding us of what we’d rather forget: We are Delta.
This has been another episode of Vulgar Marxism on The Scroll.
Delta Adopts Saudi Arabian Airlines’s No Jew Policy [HuffPo]
Airline to Jewish Rumor: ‘Delta Does Not Discriminate’ [USA Today Faith & Reason]
Earlier: You Can’t Start a Revolution on MySpace!