A Palestinian Uber driver has been banned from the ride-sharing app after kicking two Jewish women out of his car for attending a pro-Israel event in Los Angeles.
The Jewish Journal reports that Dayna and her friend, who is referred to as the pseudonym “Rachel,” attended a Celebrate Israel Festival hosted by the Israeli American Council (IAC) at Rancho Park on May 19.
When the event was over they ordered an Uber and didn’t expect what would happen when their driver, a man named Mustafa, picked them up.
After they got in his car, he immediately asked them which event they attended. Dayna was hesitant at first, but eventually, she said, “An Israeli Independence Day event.”
The driver then refused to take them to their destination.
“He started laughing and he looked us dead in the eye and he said, ‘You need to get out of my car. I’m Palestinian,’” Dayna said. “The only reason I can think of that he would ask us which event we were coming from is he clearly wanted to make a statement. It was clear by the families crossing the street and the security that it was an Israel Independence event.”
The women felt threatened by his actions.
“I could see his eyes in the wing mirror and he just spun around … his eyes were wild … raged … and that’s what frightened me,” Rachel said.
“His rage was so great that he couldn’t handle anyone associated with Israel, and that’s a hate crime, that’s prejudice,” Rachel continued. “As females, it’s very intimidating to be in a situation with a male driver. He overpowered us.”
“We were pretty freaked,” Dayna added.
After the incident, Dayna emailed Uber and received an automatic reply saying, “Sorry you had that experience… You won’t be charged for the ride.”
The Jewish Journal reached out to the ride-sharing company to see if further action would be taken against the driver.
Uber said he was banned from the app.
“Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination,” an Uber spokesperson said in an email. “What’s been described is horrible.”