Responding to concerns, Delta stated that the airline has to ensure compliance with regulations at a passenger's ticketed destination. The airline faces fines and other penalties if it does not. With public outcry growing, Delta posted a statement on its website on June 23, but didn't deny the report. Hot Air's AllahPundit provided a good summary of the checkered history of Jews and Saudi visas, a topic on which there is little definitive, independently verifiable information published online. The U.S. State Department says only that there is sometimes difficulty traveling to Saudi Arabia for those whose travel documents show a connection with Israel.
The circumstances are ambiguous here. But ambiguous circumstances are precisely the ones in which Western societies and their enterprises should err on the side of upholding equal treatment and clarification of the law. Delta is undoubtedly in an uncomfortable situation, but that does not mean the U.S. government should allow the company to codify and enforce—on American soil—a policy the Saudi government itself has not stated openly.
This is how de facto anti-Semitism establishes itself: by tacitly driving third parties like Delta to adopt unstated policies as a defensive measure. Anti-Semitism can only operate this way in the dark, however. It has been encouraging to see the explosive response of the American public to the reports about both Delta and the shut-down of YIISA. As of this writing, it is not clear what the final outcome will be in either case, but it is important in the interim to endorse the vigilance and concern—even the suspicion—evinced by bloggers, pundits, donors, and customers.
If, as we have reason to hope, the Delta policy is clarified for the better, and Yale's new anti-Semitism program continues in the robust steps of YIISA, it will not be because there was nothing to worry about in the first place. It will be because Americans did worry. Anti-Semitism is like any triumph of vice: it doesn't start out in jackboots, wearing a nametag, and goose-stepping down our main thoroughfares. In the beginning, it creeps. It prevails by suborning our principles, in one instance after another to which we do not take exception.
The vigilance, and the taking of exception, will never be a waste of time.