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August 6, 2015 4:43 pm

Jewish Group Singles Out Panasonic Over Air France Maps Excluding Israel

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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A picture of an Air France in-flight map shows that Israel is not included on the flightpath and is instead replaced with "West Bank" and the "Gaza Strip." Photo: Screenshot from JSS News.

A picture of an Air France in-flight map shows that Israel is not included on the flightpath and is instead replaced with “West Bank” and the “Gaza Strip.” Photo: Screenshot from JSS News.

Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) on Thursday singled out electronics giant Panasonic for its complicity in Air France’s exclusion of Israel from its in-flight map, The Algemeiner has learned.

Screenshots taken during Air France flights show images of the eastern Mediterranean, with Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Cairo and Egypt clearly marked, but with Israel and Tel Aviv conspicuously absent. Instead, the map labels the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and though geographically correct neither of these locations have airports capable of landing an Air France airbus.

Pro-Israel activist group StandWithUs first brought attention to the issue through a post on its Facebook page. Amid the outcry that ensued, the airline blamed the omission on a “technical blip.”

In a subsequent letter to Panasonic France’s Managing Executive Officer, Laurent Abadie, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels asked for confirmation that “this ‘blip technology'” was indeed manufactured by Panasonic and distributed through Panasonic France. He also inquired about what action the company is taking over the issue.

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“Moreover, why is the airline, apparently, claiming that the system will only be repaired in September?” Samuels asked. “We are certain that Panasonic would wish to join our constituency in seeing that this offence is resolved forthwith.”

In another letter, to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Samuels argued that “wiping a state off the map sets a precedent for all flag airlines.” He urged the ICAO to pressure Air France to repair these “offensive ‘technological blips’ with all speed.”

Air France on Monday apologized for failing to include Israel on its flight-map but the SWC rejected the apology. The airline also tweeted a photo of a repaired in-flight map that includes Israel.

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