(JTA) — The woman who was involved in a verbal altercation about the Middle East with a Jewish doctor booted from a JetBlue flight admitted that she is not Palestinian but Jewish.
The woman, who did not divulge her name, made the admission in a phone call to Queens gynecologist Dr. Lisa Rosenberg, who recorded the conversation, and in an interview with the New York Post, the newspaper reported Sunday.
The Brooklyn woman, who said she is a third cousin of late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, told Rosenberg that she identified herself as Palestinian in order to stop Rosenberg from continuing what the woman called a “hate-filled diatribe” against Palestinians.
Rosenberg was kicked off her July 7 flight from Palm Beach International Airport to New York’s Kennedy Airport.
Rosenberg claimed that the other passenger started the fight after overhearing a phone conversation in which Rosenberg was discussing the Israel-Gaza conflict. Amidst an “ugly, racially driven altercation,” Rosenberg said, the other passenger called her a “Zionist pig,” a charge the woman has denied.
Eventually, crew members ejected Rosenberg from the plane, which was still on the ground in Florida.
Two internal JetBlue reports obtained by airline industry blogger and consultant Steven Frischling “both squarely paint Dr. Rosenberg as the sole instigator of the events on board Flight 454,” according to Frischling.
The reports say that Rosenberg accused the other passenger of being a “Palestinian murderer” and that “her people are all murderers and that they murder children.” As Rosenberg continued to rant and tried to move closer to the other passenger, onlookers began to express concern for their safety, the reports said, according to Frischling.
Rosenberg denied to the New York Post that she accused her fellow passenger of having explosives with which to blow up the plane, and denies that she refused to stop arguing and sit down when asked to by a flight attendant.
JetBlue’s corporate communications manager, Morgan Johnston, said earlier this month, “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.”