Norwegian Cruise Line Drops Tunisia Over anti-Israel Discrimination

Cruise company responds after Tunisia denies 20 Israelis permission to disembark.

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Norwegian Cruise Line has dropped Tunisia from its itineraries, following an incident whereby the country refused to allow Israeli citizens to disembark in the Port of Tunis.

About 20 Israelis were quietly told before disembarking from the Norwegian Jade over the weekend that they were not welcome per the Tunisian government.

The cruise line’s decision to drop Tunisia was first reported by Cruise Critic, an online cruise information site.

“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,” Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Anti-Defamation League praised Norwegian Cruise Line for its “courageous and responsible” decision.

“We applaud the courageous and responsible decision of Norwegian Cruise Line in standing up to the discriminatory policy of the Tunisian government,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “They have sent a clear message to Tunisia and other governments that discriminatory practices against Israelis and other nationals will have a negative impact on tourism.”

The ADL wrote Monday to Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, expressing concern over complaints from passengers aboard the Norwegian Jade who had been informed informed they would be barred from disembarking just before the ship’s scheduled stop in Tunis. According to a Norwegian Cruise Line statement issued Tuesday, the company was not informed of the new Tunisian policy in advance. The statement made clear that Norwegian Cruise Line “…will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests,” and indicated the company “has cancelled all remaining calls to Tunisia and will not return.”

The Norwegian Jade had been stopping in Tunisia every three weeks during the winter, according to Cruise Critic.

Cruise liner Pacific Princess, June 3, 2010Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines

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