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.

club med311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
club med311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The French tourism company Club Med has canceled a cruise ship’sstopover in the Lebanese town of Jbeil (Byblos) after concerns emergedthat the company, which runs a resort in Eilat, was adhering to theLebanese boycott of Israel.
The Club Med II, a French-registered 187-meter cruise ship with roomfor 392 passengers, was scheduled to dock at Jbeil, about 40 km. northof Beirut, on or near September 18. The September cruise follows aroute through several ancient Mediterranean ports, with stops inTurkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Libya and Malta.
Ahead of the cruise, Club Med informed potential passengers that “theLebanese authorities will not admit on their territory, or on the ClubMed II, passport holders with a visa or Israeli stamp. These will beprohibited from boarding the Club Med II. Failure to follow theseprovisions is the responsibility of the client, who will be deniedaccess 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 saidthe willingness to uphold the Lebanese boycott was “an act of war,smacking of racism,” and violated “EU, OSCE and World TradeOrganization provisions against discrimination based on religious ornational 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 JerusalemPost on Wednesday that it regrets the unwanted “turmoil” and hascanceled 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 callin Marmaris, Turkey.”
He added that “Club Med truly regrets the misunderstanding that thisissue might have caused. Club Med is present in 35 countries [and]represents over 100 nationalities. It has been a pioneer in the respectof 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.