Club Med ship cancels stop in Lebanon due to Israeli boycott

French company said passport holders with an Israeli visa, stamp would not be allowed to board because of Lebanese ban.

April 22, 2010 10:03
1 minute read.
club med

club med311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The French tourism company Club Med has canceled a cruise ship’s stopover in the Lebanese town of Jbeil (Byblos) after concerns emerged that the company, which runs a resort in Eilat, was adhering to the Lebanese boycott of Israel.

The Club Med II, a French-registered 187-meter cruise ship with room for 392 passengers, was scheduled to dock at Jbeil, about 40 km. north of Beirut, on or near September 18. The September cruise follows a route through several ancient Mediterranean ports, with stops in Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Libya and Malta.

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Ahead of the cruise, Club Med informed potential passengers that “the Lebanese authorities will not admit on their territory, or on the Club Med II, passport holders with a visa or Israeli stamp. These will be prohibited from boarding the Club Med II. Failure to follow these provisions is the responsibility of the client, who will be denied access to the boat on the day of its embarkment from Bodrum [in Turkey] on 16 September, and will bear the subsequent costs.”

The prohibition drew the ire of Jewish groups and others.

In a statement, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Dr. Shimon Samuels said the willingness to uphold the Lebanese boycott was “an act of war, smacking of racism,” and violated “EU, OSCE and World Trade Organization provisions against discrimination based on religious or national origin.”

He also called it “irrational,” since it barred not only Israelis, but any “pilgrims or guests” who have visited the country.

Club Med, which has a resort on Eilat’s Coral Beach, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that it regrets the unwanted “turmoil” and has canceled the stopover in Lebanon.

In an e-mail, vice president for communications Thierry Orsoni said, “The call in Lebanon has been canceled and will be replaced by a call in Marmaris, Turkey.”

He added that “Club Med truly regrets the misunderstanding that this issue might have caused. Club Med is present in 35 countries [and] represents over 100 nationalities. It has been a pioneer in the respect of cultures and continues to do so today.”

The schedule change was made on Monday, and the conditions for boarding the Club Med II have been waived, the e-mail explained.

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