Response from Booking.com:
“At Booking.com, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and if we find that an accommodation listed on our site engages in discriminatory behaviour, we investigate the matter fully, potentially ceasing our working relationship and removing them from our site. As soon as we were made aware of this case, we immediately reached out to the customer, offered to cover the costs they incurred in finding an alternate place to stay, and have removed this property from our site.”
Paris, 14 January 2018
Despite a confirmed reservation through Booking.com, the owner of Hostel Buena Vista, located in Valizas, Rocha, Uruguay, refused two tourists when he discovered that they were Israelis travelling through Latin America.
He berated them on “the policies of your country,” adding, “you are not welcome in my house.”
The owner, Marcelo Piñero, had posted on Facebook that he would reject especially “young Israelis who served in the army as one such guest had, years ago, told him he was trained to kill in 15 seconds.” Piñero is convinced that his behaviour is “not discriminatory nor antisemitic.”
“The condemnation of a whole group for the politics of one of its members is the very definition of discrimination,” said Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Latin America.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Centre, stated: “As in another recent case in Switzerland, we will request Booking.com to delist this establishment which violates the antidiscrimatory principles of the reservation company… We will also inform our own global membership of over 400,000 to blacklist this hostel as inappropriate if visiting Uruguay.”
The Centre appreciates the declaration by the Uruguay Minister of Tourism, Liliana Kechichian, condemning the owner’s attitude and awaits her report and the measures she will take against this hostel of hate.