A number of news sources are reporting that the Tunisian government prohibited Israeli passengers from disembarking from a cruise ship at a stop at the Port of Tunis.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), a U.S.-based cruise line, told the Israeli citizens that they were not welcome by the Tunisian government and had to stay aboard the cruise ship.

The ship involved is the Norwegian Jade.

B’nai Brith Canada released a statement yesterday stating that there were approximately 20 Israelis Norwegian Jade - Tunis Tunisiaon board the NCL ship. They did not know in advance that they could not leave the ship during the port of call.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “the cruise line had a responsibility to its passengers and (to) advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance,” B’nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant said in a statement. “Better still the cruise line should avoid ports that have such policies.”

The cruise blog Cruise Hive publishes a statement by NCL about the incident:

“During Norwegian Jade’s port call in La Goulette, Tunisia on Sunday, March 9, 2014, a small number of guests holding Israeli passports were not allowed to go ashore because of a last minute decision made by the Tunisian Government. Port taxes for the call in Tunisia are being refunded to these guests.

We apologize for any inconvenience to our guests and appreciate their understanding. We are reviewing this decision with the appropriate officials.”

NCL’s statement is pathetic. NCL should not be down-playing the incident like this. The Tunisian government’s action should be immediately and unequivocally denounced in the strongest language possible.

This is not about returning nominal port taxes to inconvenienced guests. It is about much deeper and important issues. No citizens of any nation should be subjected to such discrimination.  The fact that an Arab nation would exhibit such contempt and hostility against Israel is particularly despicable.

What lessons were learned from the hijacking of the Achilles Lauro cruise ship and the murder of passenger Leon Klinghoffer? Have we forgotten his death and the terror inflicted by an Arab terrorist group against cruise ship passengers in the Mediterranean and ending in the murder of a Jewish passenger?

Tunisia’s actions sent a clear message to Israeli citizens.  NCL’s response should be equally clear. The only reasonable action is for NCL and the cruise industry to boycott Tunis as a port.

Tunisia Cruise Shipping Miami 2014March 11, 2014 Update:  NCL is boycotting Tunisia.  Here’s the NCL statement by CEO Sheehan:

“We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests. We are outraged by this act and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response.” 

NCL announced the boycott during the Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM2014) today.  I walked by the Tunisia delegation (photo left). They must be feeling rather foolish.

 

Photo Credit: Top – Wikipedia / Ivan T.; bottom – Jim Walker

  • John Goldsmith

    As you have mentioned before, and repeated often, the cruise lines have to be aware of the dangers that abound in the ports of call they visit. State department and travel advisories are public knowledge and should not be ignored. The cruise line should have made the customer aware.Also, the customer must be aware as well, especially in the areas of dispute in the Middle East.Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation. whether in Nassau or Tunisia.

  • Roberto Rodrigues

    Good evening I read the article about the event. I’m from Brazil
      if Israel were a friend, they would not have these conflicts. sorry i have is worth the passengers and not the government, it thinks are the best people in the world, and passengers do not have to see anything with the conflict. pay for it. Excuse me, my country, is a friendly country with the world does not have conflict, we can go anywhere without suffering such discrimination! thank you
    Roberto Rodrigues

  • Andy Gill

    Disgraceful behaviour by the Tunisians. They should be forced to pay compensation for their insulting attitude. I hope Tunisia and the cruise line both lose a lot of business over this.

  • Sam

    I will boycott NCL and hope that other people will take a similar stand.

  • roxanne

    It’s discrimination, prejudice, and hate. The NCL should have responded just like it would if other passengers were to be discriminated against.

  • tinikini

    Way to go NCL for boycotting their port, even if it was a little late in coming, and thanks for the update Jim!!!!

  • David Blaser

    Roberto Rodrigues, você poderia começar a expressar suas opiniões aprendendo a ler e escrever em inglês.
    Independentemente da nacionalidade ou de qualquer objeção que você possa ter em relação a Israel ou a judeus, você não entendeu o que aconteceu.
    Há diversos países que limitam a entrada de turistas em razão de sua nacionalidade.Essa informação sempre é prestada previamente.
    Se a companhia de navegação fosse previamente informada sobre a restrição para que cidadãos israelenses entrassem na Tunísia, certamente não aceitaria os passageiros à bordo para este cruzeiro ou ainda poderia aceitar os passageiros à bordo mas eles estariam cientes de que não poderiam desembarcar.
    Ao contrário do que você afirma diversos países exigem visto para entrada de brasileiros e para muitos brasileiros o visto é negado…consulte os consulados do Canadá, do Japão e da Austrália e saiba das exigências que aqueles países fazem para entrada de brasileiros antes de escrever de destilar seu ódio barato

  • Jeffrey Nakar

    Racial discrimination of any type is completely unacceptable and anti-Zionism is as unacceptable as any other form of racial discrimination.

    Looks like there is a good case for a BDS campaign against Tunisia. Certainly, cruise ships should insist on anti-discrimination guarantees before they agree to send passengers to visit ports. I am sure they have plenty of clauses to protect their financial interests. The travel company cannot deny all responsibility for this.

    Of course, it could have been worse. Tunisia could have forced them them to land and then killed them. Clearly the cruise line has put its passengers at risk by calling into Tunisia.

  • Ben
  • Oliver

    What is despicable is how a law specialist/journalist takes stance in a such situation without doing any investigation first. You know quite very well that there is no Visa waiver for Israeli citizens to enter Tunisia. They must arrange visas before arrival. The Tunisian border police just followed procedures. I wonder if you would scream and cry over a similar incident if happened to a Tunisian citizen if he was denied access to disembark in Haifa. Israel discriminates against all Arabs and makes it a clear public policy. It is just another hypocrite chapter revealing the double standards of many experts.

    Finally, Tunisia is known to have hosted thousands of Israeli citizens before and will continue to do so. However, Israel is known to systematically expel any Tunisian or an Arab for the matter who tries to enter Israel.

  • I don’t see Israelis shooting Arab tourists and dumping their bodies in the sea.

    Go bash Israel somewhere else.

    Goodbye.

  • LASSOUED AYMEN

    IM FROM TUNISIA AND I WORK IN CRUISE SHIP
    FIRST I WANT TO ASK ADMIN OF THIS WEB SITE WHY YOU PUT THIS ARTICLE IN THE TOPIC TERRORISM ,???THOSE ISRAELI PASSENGERS HAVE KILLED OR threaten;;..??
    WHATS HAPPEN ?PASSENGER MUST ARRANGE VISA BEFORE DESIMBARK THIS IS PROCEDURE LIKE ALL PASSENGER

    ME ALSO WHEN THE SHIP DOCK IN PORT LA GOULETTE IN MY CONTRY WHEN I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE I PREPARE MY POLICE SHEET
    ALSO ONBORD THE MAJORITY OF CRUISE SHIP THE SECURITY OFFICER ARE FROM ISRAEL AND THEY DONT HAVE ANY PROBLEM IN TUNISIAN PORT

    FINALLY TUNISIA IS LAND OF CIVILISATION MUSLIM AND JEWS AND CHRISTIAN LIVE IN PEACE THEY DONT HAVE ANY PROBLEME OUR COMMON POINT THE STAR AND CROISSANT(tunisian flag)

    AND DONT FORGET THOUSENDS OF ISRAELI visit Tunisia every year visit the synagogue of Djerba without ANYproblems

  • Rachid Merdassi

    The comments made by the reporter Jim Walker are despicable and far fetched for a merely trivial event which was caused by a zealous police officer at the port of call of this cruise liner.
    Israeli tourists and pilgrims have always been admitted and welcomed in Tunisia regardless of their political opinion and Tunisians don’t mix religion and hospitality with politics otherwise why did we admit scores of Israeli pilgrims and tourists,Israeli passport holders all these years, and how come Tunisia prides itself on having the second oldest jewish shrine in the world” La Ghriba” on the island of Djerba?
    This reporter doesn’t know that when the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar,during the siege of Jerusalem,in 587 BC, scores of Jews found in Tunisia and the Island of Djerba,joining their Phoenician cousins,a sanctuary and a safe heaven in Tunisia and the island of Djerba where they found the Ghriba temple,which holds one of the oldest Torah as well as a calcined stone brought from the Temple.
    Ignorance and historic short shortsightedness are unfortunately the fuel for extremism and prejudice.
    Tunisians are not against Judaism but against Zionism as an ideology based on exclusion,prejudice and the rule of international law.

  • G A

    The region itself made us feel unsafe. During the drive, you see some terrible poverty and an economy struggling. The museum has great mosaics but it is not worth risking your life. The local guide loses credibility as he helps rush the sale of rugs or souvenirs. Unfortunate experience after you have committed so much time and money to your vacation.