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Wiesenthal letter to Panasonic France: “This technology is reportedly manufactured by your company. Why does Air France claim the system can be repaired only in September?”
Paris, 6 August 2015
In a letter to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) newly elected Secretary-General, Dr. Fang Liu, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the Preambule to your Convention stresses civil aviation’s role in creating 'friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world, yet its abuse can become a threat to general security'.”

He also quoted the 191 member-state UN agency’s Article 28 obliging that “the publication of […] maps and charts [be] in accordance with standards […] pursuant to the Convention.”

Samuels suggested that, “Air France’s flightpath deletion of the State of Israel – an ICAO state party – and its Tel Aviv national airport served by Air France, seem to contravene the ICAO Convention. Even worse, these place-names have been replaced by Palestinian sites, not serviced by Air France.”

The Centre lamented that “this is third such distortion:
-1992, in its 'Passeport pour le Moyen-Orient' pamphlet for its top frequent flyers
-1999, in its time table for Middle East flights
-2015, in its current recidivism.”

The letter continued, “The airline’s management is now claiming a 'technology blip', which could raise questions about flight control security in other aircraft equipment – Air France is apparently indicating that ‘the problem’ will not be repaired until as late as September,” continuing, “this lack of sensitivity has resulted in outrage among our constituency and beyond, with many moving their custom to other airlines.”

Samuels argued that, “wiping a state off the map sets a precedent for all flag airlines and we urge the ICAO to press Air France to make a public apology to its clientele and repair these offensive 'technological blips' with all speed.”

Another letter to Panasonic France Managing Executive Officer, Laurent Abadie, asked for confirmation that “this 'blip technology' was manufactured by Panasonic and furnished through Panasonic France.”

The Centre queried, “if this distortion originated with Panasonic,then what measures are you taking against the perpetrator? Moreover, why is the airline, apparently, claiming that the system will only be repaired in September?”

“We are certain that Panasonic would wish to join our constituency in seeing that this offence is resolved forthwith,” stated Samuels.

The Centre’s letter to the ICAO pointed to “its 70th anniversary, having been founded some months before the end of World War II, when 600,000 Jews and others were still to be murdered.”

“Civil aviation could not save them then, but an ICAO stand against the deletion of the Jewish State today would – citing your Convention – be a statement for the “general security” of all nations,” concluded Samuels.