DULLES, Va. (DC News Now) — Hundreds of Jewish people said they were stranded at Dulles International Airport on Tuesday after buses never showed up to take a group from the Detroit Jewish community to the March for Israel.
The Jewish Federation of Detroit chartered three planes that landed Tuesday morning.
A Federation spokesperson said a third of them were stuck because there was a deliberate and “malicious” walkoff of drivers.
Flying in from Michigan, about 300 Jewish Detroiters never made it to the March for Israel, including high schooler Ari Salama.
“It kind of bummed us out because we all wanted it to go to this rally. It meant a lot to us,” Salama said.
David Kurzmann, Director of community with the Jewish Federation of Detroit said the bus company informed them a number of drivers called in sick when they became aware of the assignment.
“I just like was thinking like they’re not going to take us just because we’re Jewish, like because we’re going to this rally,” Salama said.
A large number of people were able to make it to the National Mall for the rally using other transportation.
Salama and many others were stuck for 11 hours, making the most of the situation, rallying on the tarmac and singing on the plane, “trying just to keep our best spirits,” Salama said.
Kurzmann calls the actions of the bus drivers malicious. But when asked if it was an act of antisemitism he said, “It was an act targeting the Jewish community as far as their participation in this rally. And we’re understanding more as we kind of explore the whole nature of this.”
Michigan State Sen. Jeremy Moss was among those stuck at the airport. He posted on the X platform saying, “There was tremendous support from those in the Detroit Jewish community who traveled to join the massive national event showing dire concern for hostages & strong rebuke of antisemitism. That opportunity was denied to hundreds of us by the actions of our ground transport. When goods & services are made available in an open market but denied to some because of who they are & how they identify, it’s discrimination. Plain & simple.”
The Jewish Federation of Detroit won’t name the bus company because DC News Now is told they don’t want to bring them attention, but they did release a statement Wednesday saying they are reviewing information and potential future steps with their council.