March 11, 2014

Cruise Ship Restricts Israeli Passengers at Request of Tunisia

                                                                              photo by Wikimedia Commons

Israeli passengers on the Norwegian Jade cruise ship were told at the last minute that they would not be allowed to disembark for the day stop in Tunis. After they had already filled out the forms to disembark, the cruise staff quietly told the 20 Israelis on board that they were "not welcomed by the Tunisian government" and that they could not leave the ship.

The staff "kept it a secret" from the other passengers but a Canadian passenger who had talked with the Israelis heard what had happened; he tried to reason with the ship's captain and then notified Jewish human rights organization, B'nai Brith.

The cruise line did not advise the passengers in advance that Israeli tourists would be confined to the ship for the stop. Other Jewish passengers were unaware that their coreligionists were being detained, since no public announcements were made. They were outraged when it became known, B’nai Brith Canada said.

The group’s CEO, Frank Dimant, said the Norwegian Cruise Line has “a responsibility to its passengers” to “advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance.”
“Better still the cruise line should avoid ports that have such policies,” he added.
Apparently still trying to keep the incident quiet, Norwegian Cruise Line, which is headquartered in Miami, issued a statement citing "a last minute decision by the Tunisian government" that kept "a small number of passengers with Israeli passports from going ashore" and condescendingly offering to "refund the port taxes to these guests."

Why would the cruise line enforce discrimination against Israelis?  Would they have so calmly and quietly kept tourists from another country confined to the ship while the rest of the passengers visited a port of call?

Under what flag does the Norwegian Jade sail?

UPDATE:  Norweigian Cruise Line has cancelled stops in Tunisia!

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