Trump's "love" for Israel bears a major blemish By The Wayne Madsen Report
While President-elect Donald Trump is sharing his disdain for the United Nations and the UN Security Council abstention by the United States on illegal Israeli West Bank settlements with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Trump's love for Israel has a very practical -- and financial -- limit. As a hotelier, restaurateur, and owner of resorts around the world, Trump, as any other businessman in his position, knows there are limits to graciousness toward Israel and its people, particularly Israelis who travel abroad.
Hotels, resorts, travel bureaus and offices, and resorts around the world have a single perception of Israeli tourists: they are not only known as the rudest in the world but prone to committing more pilferage of hotel, restaurant, and resort assets than any other nationality. These include drapes, bed linens, towels, silverware, decorations -- including local ceramic, woodwork, paintings, and other artifacts -- and even television remote control devices.
Many warnings about Israeli tourists do not originate with "anti-Semites" in the travel and hospitality industries but by Jewish citizens of other countries. On March 31, 2014, Michelle Hites, a Chilean Jew, wrote the following for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz: "Every month there are more and more headlines, Facebook statuses, and blogs mentioning Israeli tourists. Sadly, they don’t describe Israelis as harmless, friendly and sociable tourists, but as harmful, aggressive, unsociable, disrespectful ones. They demonstrate an astonishing lack of education and respect." Hites continued by describing the scene at the ancient Incan archaeological park in Mulluqocha, Peru, "60 Israelis were found with drugs, alcohol, spray paint and loud music, as well as 21 ancient Incan ceramic pieces."
With a stark warning to Israeli tourists, Hites sums up the frustration of many around the world, "When you come to Latin America, or visit other countries around the world, remember one thing, Israeli tourists: This is not your country. You are in someone else’s home."
Larry Derfner, writing in the Jewish Journal on June 17, 2004, pointed out one sign at a hotel in Thailand: "ISRAELI NATIONALITY (sic) is not welcome to stay in this hotel, because they are problem makers. We cannot accept their behavior."
Bangkok guest house is not alone in saying "no" to Israeli guests. Reason: they steal the hospitality industry blind. From small time guests houses and inns to mega-hotel complexes like those run by Donald Trump, the negative feelings about Israelis are the same the world over.
What the Thais politely refer to as "problem makers" are simply known as thieves to the loss prevention staffs of major hotel and resort chains, such as the many run by the Trump Organization.
When it comes to disdain for sticky-fingered Israeli tourists, Thailand, Chile, and Peru are not alone. The same situation exists in China, Mongolia, Bolivia, Greece, Ecuador, Nepal, Costa Rica, Turkey, Florida, India, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Alaska, Kenya, Cuba, Maldives, Cyprus, Mexico, and other tourist destinations around the world. They have all had their share of problems with outbound Israeli tourists packing their luggage with more "goods" than they arrived with.
Hoteliers like those who own the hotel in Greece (above) require hefty security deposits from Israelis for the expectant theft and damage.
In Italy, Israeli tourists have been known to enter hotel breakfast buffets and load up bags with fruit and other food item, denying breakfast to other guests, and opening up private buffets in their rooms for other Israelis in their party. Stung by pilferage from Israeli tourists, Italian hotels began adding surcharges to Israeli guests' credit cards for stolen items:
Sheets - €6 each (about $6.24 per sheet)
Towels - €6 each
Plates, cups and cutlery - €11 ($11.43 for each item)
An Italian hotel in Verona after a stay by Israeli guests. At least they left the table lamp.
Many hotels, villas, and restaurants in Verona simply refuse to serve Israelis since they have been burned so many times. In Cyprus, hotel owners have often had to deal with not only theft by Israeli tourists but vandalism, such as guests defecating in the middle of rooms and in sinks.
Of course, the Israeli government responds to these sanctions by using the tired old dog-whistle canard of "anti-Semitism." But for hospitality industry executives like Mr. Trump, they can put a significant dollar value on the loss experienced from Israeli tourists. Trump will need no reminders of Israeli chicanery and malfeasance when he deals with Netanyahu and his government.
Even in Germany, which is uber-sensitive to charges of anti-Semitism, many guest houses refuse bookings to Israelis. Last month, after a guest house in Baden-Wurttemburg refused rooms to a group of Israelis, Bookings.com dropped the guest house from their website. The guest house did not seem to be bothered one bit by the action. AirBnB has had to drop several accommodations, particularly those in Europe, from its listings because of hosts banning Israelis due to frequent pilferage of items from private rooms and homes.
Hotels in Japan, while mindful that Chinese tourists are often rude, will accept them any day over pilfering Israelis. The Imperial Hotel, a 5-star resort on the Greek isle of Rhodes, began issuing blue wristbands to Israeli guests. Israeli journalists were tipped off about the practice of singling Israelis out with blue wrist bands while guests from other European countries were issued wristbands of all colors in order to have unlimited use of the spa and other hotel facilities. Of course, the hotel engaged in this practice to cut down on theft of goods and items. But for the Israelis, it was all reminiscent of the Nazi-required yellow stars that had to be worn by Jews on their outer clothing. The anti-Semitism refrain ensued.
There is one thing for certain. Donald Trump the hospitality industry magnate has an entirely different opinion of Israel than Donald Trump the pandering politician.