May 01, 2009
Anti-Semitism is a well known fact not only in the Arab World, but in places such as our "cultural superiors" in Europe. As a result, I am not surprised by this story.
But the airline denied any anti-Israel agenda and insisted there was a simple explanation: the planes were recently bought from a bankrupt charter company that flew mainly to Muslim countries.
"For this reason the inflight entertainment system in the two planes was made to adapt to the passengers flying to and from those destinations and therefore the map showed mainly places holy to Islam," BMI said in a statement.
BMI, which started operating low-cost flights to Israel more than a year ago, denied it had any ulterior motive in showing the Israel-free maps.
"If BMI had any political agenda in order not to anger neighbouring countries, it would not have invested so much in the Tel Aviv line," it said.
But after furious passengers took up the issue with the authorities, an Israeli official made it clear that either the Jewish state appears on the maps or BMI disappears from its skies.
"Doing business with Israel has its advantages and disadvantages, but we will not agree to a situation where they hide the existence of Israel but want to do business with Israel," transport ministry director-general Gideon Sitterman told army radio.
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