California Hotel Warned Anti-Israel Summit May Be Illegal

California Hotel Warned Anti-Israel Summit May Be Illegal

On Monday, the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) sent a letter to the Westin Bonaventure hotel in Downtown Los Angeles calling upon it to “ban unlawful discrimination” on its property. The letter warns that hosting the annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA), which recently voted to boycott Israeli academics, would place the hotel in violation of California law because it would make them party to discrimination on the basis of national origin, race and religion.

Because the boycott is specific to Israelis, the majority of whom are Jewish, the authors of the letter argue, the meeting is antisemitic in nature.

The ASA touts itself as being “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history” on their website.

Because the Westin is hosting the ASA’s annual meeting, the ACLJ contends, it would be party to such civil rights violations and liable under California’s Unruh Act (1959), which was passed partly to prevent such boycotts..

Below is an excerpt from the letter that the ACLJ sent on October 13 via express overnight mail to the Westin Bonaventure, and which was provided to Breitbart News. The letter was addressed to the hotel’s General Manager, Michael Czarcinski: 

The purpose of this letter is to put the Westin Bonaventure and Interstate Hotels, their owners, administrators, and employees on notice of the nature of the Boycott and, more importantly, the liability under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act for aiding the ASA in enforcement of this unlawful discriminatory policy at the Annual Meeting on the premises of the Westin Bonaventure….

Of paramount importance to the present situation is the fact that in passing the Unruh Act, the California Legislature was specifically motivated by a prior boycott of Israel and a concern that certain businesses in California would deny products and services to Jews.

Like the boycott of Israel that served as a direct impetus for passage of the Unruh Act, the Boycott targets specific organizations for disparate and discriminatory treatment solely on the basis of their national origin, as well as specific individuals who are associated with those organizations in a representative capacity. 

The Westin Bonaventure’s contract with all patrons, the letter points out, includes a requirement that neither party is permitted to violate state law.

Breitbart News contacted Mr. Czarcinsky for comment on Tuesday. He said he had not yet received the letter from the ACLJ, and added: “I’m not going to comment on anything right now until I’m aware of the situation.”

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