Jewish groups accuse Frontier Airlines of anti-Semitism after the carrier canceled a flight from Miami to New York on Sunday following a clash with a group of Hasidic Jewish travelers linked to respect for the mask.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council has accused Frontier cabin crew of “sectarian behaviorBut the airline says the passengers were deplaned due to a “continued refusal to comply with the federal mask mandate.”
OJPAC, which shared video of the incident on Twitter, said the dispute arose when cabin crew ordered a Hasidic Jewish couple to disembark because their 18-month-old did not have a mask. Children under the age of 2 are exempt from the federal transport mask mandate.
The group too accused the cabin crew of applauding, exchanging high-fives and congratulating each other as the passengers exited the plane. The OJPAC added that an Orthodox Jewish person defended the couple and their extended family – who were masked – began to leave the plane, “at that point, Frontier ordered everyone to get off. the plane”.
A disturbing incident of the last hour on a @FlyFrontier robbery as staff told a Hasidic couple to get off because their 18-month-old did not have a mask. Applause is heard as the couple have started to leave. The trips tell the camera that the applause came from the staff who also applauded that “we did it”. pic.twitter.com/rA2JQmI1tU
– OJPAC (@OJPAC) March 1, 2021
Frontier disputed this account on Twitter as well as in a statement to USA TODAY.
“On February 28, as flight 2878 from Miami to New York-La Guardia prepared to leave the departure gate, a large group of passengers repeatedly refused to comply with the US federal government’s mandate for mask, “spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told USA TODAY. in an email. “Several people, including several adults, were repeatedly asked to wear their masks and refused to do so. Based on the continued refusal to comply with the federal mask mandate, the refusal to disembark from the plane and the assault on the flight crew, local law enforcement has been engaged. The flight was eventually canceled. “
In a sunday Tweeter, the airline said, “Repeated requests to comply with federal law necessitated their removal from the flight. The problem was not with a child under the age of 2.”
Members of a large group, including adults, refused to wear masks as Flight 2878 prepared for the departure of the MIA-LGA. Repeated requests to comply with federal law necessitated their removal from the flight. The problem was not with a child under 2 years old.
– Frontier Airlines (@FlyFrontier) March 1, 2021
“Some people in this” group “are not even related to the family”, OJPAC retaliated after seeing Frontier’s tweet. “They are grouped together under the name of Hasidim.”
According to Chabad.org, Hasidim is the plural term for Hasid, a Jewish person who is dedicated to “studying, contemplating, and internalizing the Hasidic teachings.”
Hasidim has also been appropriated as a catch-all term used by outsiders to describe several different Jewish sects based on their dress and other common practices.
The OJPAC also called Frontier for failing to respond to allegations by those on board regarding the crew’s attitude towards the passengers.
Monday, the Anti-Defamation League New York / New Jersey called for a “full and transparent investigation”.
Asked about the allegations of anti-Semitism, de la Cruz said, “We are looking at all situations where a passenger needs to be removed from a flight.”
Although some Hasidic groups in New York City clashed with officials over COVID precautions such as wearing masks, that was not the case on the Frontier flight, Hasidic passenger Martin Joseph told the New York Times.
“We are law-abiding citizens,” he told the newspaper. “We have young children. We understand that the mask must be worn and that everyone must wear a mask and that is the law. We are one million percent compliant.”
Contributor: Ryan Miller; Joseph SpectorJon Campbell, New York State Team
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Frontier Airlines accused of anti-Semitism by Orthodox Jewish group