(JTA) – The online hotel reservation service Booking.com dropped from its website a Swiss establishment whose management put up signs singling out Jews and urging them to shower before entering the swimming pool.
The Paradise Apartments in Arosa, some 80 miles southeast of Zurich, still appears on Booking.com, but is blocked for reservations.
“We’re sorry, but it is currently not possible to make reservations for this accommodation on our website,” the page reads, referring users to a list of other hotels in the area.
A Booking.com representative told Shimon Samuels, the Paris-based director of international affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, on Wednesday that it would not list the Paradise Apartments because of the signs. In addition to the one about the pool, another sign set times for Jews to access a refrigerator at the hotel.
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We can confirm that the property in question is no longer available on Booking.com,” a representative told Samuels in an email replying to Samuel’s request for disciplinary action by Booking.com against the hotel.
Ruth Thomann, who runs the hotel, told JTA on Monday that she removed the signs shortly after they were put up over the weekend. She said she meant no offense to Jews and that she merely sought to convey information relevant only to the Jewish guests.
Thomann said only the Jewish guests were entering the pool without showering first while wearing t-shirts and they alone were allowed, as a courtesy, to put food in the staff’s refrigerator.
“I may have selected the wrong words; the signs should have been addressed to all the guests instead of Jewish ones,” she added.
But the signs, photographed by the tourists and circulated online, triggered a wave of condemnations in Israel, including by its deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, and beyond. She said the signs were indicative of anti-Semitism in Europe.
The sign about the pool read: “To our Jewish Guests: Please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes the swimming pool for you.” [sic]
The sign about the refrigerator read: “To our Jewish guests: You are allowed to approach the fridge between the hours: 10.00-11.00 in the morning and 16.30-17.30 in the evening. I hope you understand that our team does not like to be disturbed every time.”