ATHENS (Jun. 23)
The president of the Greek Jewish community, Joseph Lovinger, said he was deeply concerned by the “inflammatory campaign against Greece” arising from charges in the United States and elsewhere that lax security at Athens airport contributed to the hijacking of TWA flight 847 shortly after it took off from there on June 14.
Lovinger spoke against the background of the hostage crisis still unfolding in Beirut where about 40 Americans who were passengers on Flight 847 are being held captive by Shiite Moslem extremists who demand that Israel free 766 Shiite prisoners.
The U.S. government has issued an advisory to American citizens against travel to Greece and some American Jewish leaders have called on Jews to boycott that country. But Lovinger, in a cable to the World Jewish Congress and its affiliated communities in 70 countries, issued “a call to our coreligionists” to end a campaign of “grave and unfair accusations” against Greece.
CLAIMS GREECE MADE ‘SCAPEGOAT’
He expressed regret that Greece, out of all friendly countries, has been “unjustly singled out as a convenient scapegoat.” He charged that “a tragic event is deplorably exploited in order to serve other, less obvious purposes than airport security at Athens.”
According to Lovinger, who described himself as a frequent air traveler, security at Athens airport is on a par with that of most other major international airports, except possibly Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.