NEW YORK (Apr. 28)
Eastern Airlines says it will no longer make the magazine, South, available to its passengers as part of its in-flight library. A complaint lodged with the airline by the American Jewish Congress charged the Arab-owned publication with being “devoted almost exclusively to maligning Israel and the United States.”
A letter of reply from Donald Lohr, an Eastern Airlines official, said that the complaints from AJCongress and others “have convinced us to discontinue boarding this publication.”
South, which calls itself “the Third World magazine,” recently described PLO chief Yasir Arafat as “one of the great freedom fighters of our time,” according to AJCongress, which charged that Arafat personally had ordered the assassination of the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan in 1973 as well as other terrorist acts.
The complaint to Eastern, which was signed by Phil Baum, associate executive director of AJCongress, asserted that the kind of propaganda contained in South “is slanted, mendacious and highly offensive to many passengers.”
Baum noted that AJCongress does not want to censor the magazine and that “we unreservedly support South’s right to be published and to be sold anywhere in the world.”
But he added that unlike public libraries or bookstores, institutions like doctors’ offices or airlines, which offer their clients only a small selection of publications, have a responsibility to avoid including materials that are offensive to large segments of the public such as pornography or “blatant political propaganda.”