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Swiss hotel orders Jewish guests to shower

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland’s tourism office on Tuesday decried an “unfortunate” incident in which a small Alpine hotel posted a sign asking “Jewish guests” to shower before swimming in the hotel pool.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the closure of the Paradies Arosa hotel, and issued a statement calling on “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.” On Twitter, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called for “justice” against the hotel’s management.

Officials said the hotel in the eastern town of Arosa had apologized for the incident and taken the sign down. Hotel management didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Swiss Tourism spokesman Markus Berger called the sign unacceptable, adding: “It always needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”

Under the headline “To our Jewish Guests,” the sign read: “Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding.”

Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, posted an image of the sign on her Facebook page and wrote that “there can be no tolerance and no indifference” to anti-Semitism and racism, in comments that also alluded also to violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia in the United States.

We “must not let there be a place in the free world for Nazi flags or Ku Klux Klan masks or ugly signs in hotels directed at Jews only,” she wrote. “We cannot allow acts of hate against Jews around the world to become normal.”

The secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it was “really a dumb thing” to do, but he called for calm.

“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” Jonathan Kreutner said in a phone interview.

He said that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “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.”

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