Dear Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans, from JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson
Chief Executive Officer
800 Connecticut Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06854
Dear Gillian Tans,
I write with the hope to inspire conversation with you and positive change with Booking.com.
My name is Rebecca Vilkomerson and I am the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a nonprofit with 16,000 members and 250,000 online supporters who care deeply about freedom and equality in Israel/Palestine.
We also have over 500,000 followers on Facebook, and one of them wrote to us to point out that after being targeted by pro-Israel activists, Booking.com has started calling all areas in Jerusalem an “Israeli city.”
I was dismayed to see such a popular site as Booking.com, led by a progressive woman like yourself, fall prey to bullying by extremists who want to see all of Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.
East Jerusalem is not an “Israeli city.” International law and global consensus recognize it as occupied territory.
We’ve launched a petition and email campaign which many thousands are signing to show their unhappiness with Booking.com’s decision.
To Jewish Voice for Peace supporters who are reading this message, you can add you voice to our petition here.
The ask is simple: Booking.com should follow internationally recognized rules around descriptions of “disputed” and occupied territory in Israel/Palestine.
Labeling East Jerusalem as part of Israel, rather than occupied territory, painfully erases Palestinian history and connection to this city. With this action, Booking.com inadvertently endorses Netanyahu’s quest to make occupation permanent.
Everyone from the European Union to the United Nations agree that Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem is illegal – and Booking.com’s decision to overrule these long-standing norms is shocking.
I look forward to hearing from you at which point we’ll consider our next steps.
Jewish Voice for Peace