Popular travel site drops Swiss hotel over seemingly anti-Semitic signs

After offending Jews around the world, whether intentionally or not, Aparthaus Paradies is now facing the consequences. 

Aparthaus Paradies, the Swiss hotel that generated controversy after posting a sign requesting that Jewish guests shower before entering its pool has been removed from Booking.com, a popular travel website.

In an email to journalists on Thursday, Simon Wiesenthal Center director of international affairs Shimon Samuels stated that the Booking.com has accepted his organization’s request to delist Aparthaus Paradies.

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We can confirm that the property in question is no longer available on Booking.com,” Samuels quoted a spokeswoman for the site as saying.

In a letter earlier this week, Samuels had called on the Swiss government to “close [the] hotel of hate and penalize its management.”

The hotel, a popular destination for Jewish ultra-Orthodox vacationers, had singled out Jewish guests, threatening to ban them from the pool should they not follow directions regarding bathing. A second poster also singled out Jewish guests, informing them of the hours that they were allowed to access a freezer in a staff area.

Jonathan Kreutner, secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, called the sign a “really dumb thing” in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” he said, adding that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”

Wording ‘Naive,’ Not Anti-Semitic

Hotel manager Ruth Thomann told local media that she had not intended the signs as anti-Semitic and that they were badly worded responses to complaints by both guests and staff. According to The Guardian, the Paradies’ popularity is a result of its willingness to allow guests to store Kosher food in the staff room freezer.

Thomann said that guests had complained of their Jewish counterparts not using the showers before swimming and that staff had said that guests entering the kitchen without set times was disruptive.

The wording on the posters was “naive,” Thomann said.

However, neither the state of Israel nor the Swiss government found these explanations acceptable.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely contacted the Swiss by way of Ambassador Jacob Keidar to call for an official statement of condemnation from Bern whle denouncing them as “an antisemitic act of the worst and ugliest kind.”

In response, a Swiss tourism spokesman called the sign unacceptable while adding that it “needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”

By: World Israel News Staff