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18 July, 2024
 
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Japan: Israeli tourist's hotel reservation canceled over ''war crimes''

City officials condemn move as discriminatory and a violation of regulations

Source: CNN

A hotel in Kyoto allegedly canceled an Israeli tourist’s reservation citing “war crimes,” prompting criticism from local officials who condemned the move as a violation of regulations.

According to a report from CNN, the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo reported that the tourist received a WhatsApp message from an employee at Hotel Material, canceling the June booking in response to the Gaza conflict. The message reportedly read: “Due to war crimes being committed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) members...we are not able to accept reservations from persons we believe might have ties to the Israeli army.” It remains unclear why the employee believed the tourist had such ties.

The tourist, who lodged a complaint with the Israeli embassy, managed to book another hotel in Kyoto and continued his trip. The Israeli Embassy denounced the incident as "a clear case of discrimination."

Kyoto city officials reprimanded the hotel, accusing it of breaching Japan’s Hotel Business Act, which mandates non-discriminatory accommodation services. A city representative visited the hotel to address the legal violation.

Ido Bromberg, a political counselor at the Israeli Embassy, emphasized that the messages were sent by a low-level employee and not by the hotel’s management. The embassy filed a formal complaint with the Japanese government but stressed the incident does not reflect broader Japanese hospitality standards. Bromberg described it as a “singular incident” and expressed hope it would not recur.

While the embassy hopes for an apology from the hotel, it will not pursue legal action. This incident occurred amid ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, with both sides accused of war crimes by a recent United Nations inquiry.

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Cyprus  |  Japan  |  Israel  |  tourism

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