Airline crew ‘counselled’ after wearing Palestinian badges on board flight

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Airline crew ‘counselled’ after wearing Palestinian badges on board flight

Cabin crew member threatens to fight the Qantas passenger who complained of feeling 'intimidated' by the display on board flight from Melbourne to Hobart on 20th December

A passenger on board an Australian internal flight says he felt intimidated by the cabin crew wearing Palestinian badges.

Harrison Grafanakis, the Tasmania branch president of the Liberal Party of Australia, was on board the national airline carrier Qantas flight from Melbourne to Hobart on 20 December.

Speaking to Sky News Australia, Grafanakis, who is not Jewish, said: “In Melbourne, every single day we saw countless Palestinian protests going through the city and they were quite intimidating. They were loud, they were aggressive and they were similar. Getting on to the Qantas flight and seeing a bunch of the staff wearing it was not something I wanted to see.

Harrison Grafanakis featured on Sky News Australia Pic: Sky News Australia

“When someone boards a flight, they want to go from Point A to Point B, not be indoctrinated with politics. I didn’t feel particular safe, especially when they’re doing political activism instead of their jobs.”

He went on to say that “Jihadism is not just from Palestinians. You can see it time and time again. And it’s not something that companies should be importing to Australia.”

Pic: Sky News Australia

Calling herself a “strong advocate for a free Palestine”, Emma Ale, the stewardess pictured wearing the badge, posted a Facebook message on group ‘Palestinian Christians in Australia’ asking for help to “fight against the person who reported me to media.”

Pic: Screenshot:

The group posted the message and asked: ” Should this lady lose her job for wearing Palestine flag? Certainly not … Show your support and let racists Sky News know where you stand. Show your support and send message to the airline.”

Pic: Twitter, Australian Jewish Association

Australian Jewish Association CEO Robert Gregory has publicly called for the dismissal of all the staff involved in the stunt, telling Sky News Australia that the incident far from isolated and “political activism does not belong in airplanes while Australians are heading off to enjoy their holidays.”

In a statement published on 4th January, the Australian national airline carrier said:

Qantas statement, 4th January 2024

“We understand there are strong and opposing views on the current conflict, but there is no room for these to be expressed by our employees in the workplace.

Our priority is creating a safe and respectful environment for our customers and all our people.

Unauthorised badges can’t be worn by employees and we’ve reinforced this to the crew member involved, along with the seriousness of this particular matter. We have also reminded all employees of this policy.

Qantas does not intend to make any further statements on this issue.”

Sky News Australia reports that Qantas investigated another incident on board its budget airline Jet Star, where a cabin crew member allegedly said “Free Palestine” on the public passenger tannoy shortly before take-off. The investigation found the incident was one of “misunderstanding or mishearing”.

A member of the Australian Jewish community has since launched an online petition calling for the crew members involved to be sacked.

Click here to watch the full Sky News Australia report on Qantas.

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