(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.
Ahead of the cruise, Club Med informed potential passengers that “the
Lebanese authorities will not admit on their territory, or on the Club
, 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
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
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.