A New York woman is claiming that she was ejected from a JetBlue flight before take off because she is Jewish.
Monday night, Dr. Lisa Rosenberg had been vacationing in Palm Beach County, FL and was in the process of heading home. Shortly after boarding the plane, another woman passenger approached her and an argument ensued. After the argument became heated enough for a flight attendant to intervene, a supervisor arrived and ordered Rosenberg to exit the plane.
Rosenberg says she felt humiliated, but complied with JetBlue staff.
Before the flight, Rosenberg says she had been talking on the phone with a friend about the violence in Israel, and she expressed concern for her daughter who is to be studying there next year. The trouble began when Rosenberg ended her call.
According to Dr. Rosenberg:
“A woman comes up to me and says to me ‘I’m a Palestinian,’ and she starts cursing at me. ‘Zionist pig. This is just the beginning.'”
Rosenberg maintains that she never said anything negative about Palestinians, and only complimented Israel on how it’s leaders have handled the most recent conflicts. The other passenger began using racial slurs and even resorted to threatening Rosenberg’s daughter. She then demanded that Rosenberg be removed from the flight because she was uncomfortable flying with her.
“I was saying how it was good Israel found the students that killed the Palestinian teenager and how it was exemplary not making them into heroes, but seeking to publicly try them. I said any other country would have made these students out to be martyrs and celebrating them.”
Once the other passenger approached her and started the argument, JetBlue staff became involved and told Rosenberg to exit the plane.
“I can’t believe it. I said, ‘Why would you do that?’ I said, ?Why don’t you have her leave the plane?’ I said, ‘The passenger, the Palestinian passenger, didn’t feel comfortable with me, the Jewish doctor being on the plane?'”
Rosenberg claims that JetBlue refused to answer any of her questions regarding the incident. She says it was only the one passenger that complained that she was uncomfortable with Rosenberg being on the plane and refused to fly with her. A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene after airline representatives escorted Rosenberg off the plane.
JetBlue confirmed that Rosenberg was removed from the flight, but says that Rosenberg’s story “in no way reflects the report we have.” However, JetBlue is refusing to release that report and will not specify what is in it.
According to JetBlue Corporate Communications Manager Morgan Johnston:
“A crew member may request a customer to deboard and be re-accommodated if the crew member feels as though the safety of the plane or customers on board is impacted, or the customer on board is unable to comply with in-flight instructions or obstructing a crew member’s duties.”
Rosenberg maintains that her story is the absolute truth, and believes that she is the victim of a hate crime. She has contacted the Anti-Defamation League where officials have confirmed they are investigating the incident.
The friend Dr. Rosenberg was conversing with over the phone, a Dr. Myles Kobren, confirms Rosenberg’s story about the phone conversation, but did not hear any details of the discussion between the two women. He does however, remember hearing a woman identify herself as Palestinian and stating that she didn’t like the comments Rosenberg was making. The phone call was disconnected after that.
Dr Rosenberg stated:
“I just was completely outraged that I would be asked to leave a plane, being a Jew.”
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