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February 25, 2022 1:55 pm

French Boat and Cruise Company Blocks Website From Customers in Israel: Legal Org

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A small cruise boat on the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan, France. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A French company that helps customers book cruise and boat trips in France has allegedly made its website inaccessible to people based in Israel, UK Lawyers for Israel alleged on Thursday.

The pro-Israel legal advocacy group explained that if Israeli customers try to access many of the pages on French-waterways.com, which is based in both France and Oxfordshire in the UK, they receive a message saying “Your access to this site has been limited by the site owner.” An Israeli customer who called the company to inquire about the blocked pages was told that they were purposefully made unavailable for Israel-based internet addresses.

French Waterways, founded in 2003, stated on its website that it helps clients “compare and choose the most suitable and sublime vacation options, calling upon our own extensive waterways experience and familiarity with France, and the kinds of cruises available on her inland waters.” It also said it is “the world’s most valued and most comprehensive source of inspiration and information about enjoying the rivers and canals of France.”

UKLFI wrote to French Waterways CEO James Newcombe in January and accused the company of discriminating against Israelis and Jews in breach of the UK’s Equality Act 2010, which protect races, nationalities, religions and beliefs from being discriminated against, including from “service-provider[s].” UKLFI asked Newcombe to unblock its webpages for Israelis, but he has yet to respond to the group’s request and many pages of the website remain inaccessible.

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“It is not clear why a company should deliberately block Israelis from accessing their services, but if this is happening then it is clearly illegal as it contravenes the Equality Act 2010,” said UKLFI Director Caroline Turner. “We hope that now that this issue has been highlighted to the French waterways website, they will take action and remove the blocks.”

French Waterways did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

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