Nadia Matar of Women in Green did a great job researching and reporting about it. So read:
The posting about the Inbal hotel's waving the PLO flag last week during a conference on "Homeland Security" made a lot of waves. Hundreds of loyal friends of Israel from Israel and abroad bombarded the Inbal hotel's office with faxes and emails of complaints and shock, many of them even announcing that they will not go to the Inbal anymore.
The amount of complaints must have been so great that Inbal's General Manager himself, Mr. Rodney Sanders, took the time to answer by sending each person an email with the same answer.
Here is his response, followed by Women in Green's comments:
Dear Mr X,
I am responding to your note of concern regarding reports of "Plo flags" displayed at our hotel during the last two days of May.
Let me say directly that I am very sensitive to the concerns of our guests, and that I, too, felt uncomfortable when asked, even by the Israeli government, to fly the colors of the Palestinian Authority at the hotel.
But that is exactly what happened. The Israel Minister of Public Security Avi Dicter chose the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel to be the venue for the International Security Forum, a conference on "Challenges to Homeland Security", of which MK Avi Dicter was the chairman. The conference was from May 28 to May 30.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertkoff and a dozen other internal security ministers from Europe and beyond were invited and Minister Dicter also invited the Palestinian Minister of Interior.
We were instructed by the Israel Ministry of Public Security and the organizing committee to fly the flags of all those participating in the conference, including that of the Palestinian Authority.
While not meaning to add to anybody's distress, I think it important for me to mention that other prominent hotels are often asked by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host Israel-Palestinian negotiating sessions. Sometimes this also involves flags.
I can assure you that I, as the General Manager of the hotel had no intent of making a political statement and have no desire of doing so in the future.
I would like to apologize for placing the flag on the building. I have now since learnt how sensitive this issue is to the feelings of our nation and our people, but I believe I had no choice but to follow the request of the Ministry.
I look forward to welcoming you at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel.
Rodney Sanders, General Manager
Women in Green's answer:
You write; "I had no choice but to follow the request of the Ministry".
This is where you are wrong. You DID have a choice.You could easily have said "No" to Mr Dichter's request.
You could have said:
"I am sorry Mr Dichter. The Inbal Hotel has a policy of not flying the flag of Arab terrorists whose platform is: Murder Jews and destroy the State of Israel. In fact, we here at the Inbal Hotel would like to understand how you Mr. Dichter invite the Palestinian Authority at a conference which title is: "Challenges to Homeland Security" when our homeland security is exactly being challenged by those PLO terrorists!
We at the Inbal Hotel are loyal to the people of Israel and to the Land of Israel. We refuse to insult and hurt the feelings of thousands of victims of Arab terror in Israel and abroad and hence the Inbal refuses not only to fly the PLO flag but we refuse to host your conference."
You could have said all that. But you didn't.
Sadly you chose to "obey the orders".
The time has come for all Jews to understand that no orders are holy. The fact that a Prime Minister or a minister or a policeman or a IDF officer gives us an order, does not mean that we immediately must obey. We must think twice before executing the order and ask ourselves: is this an order that I, as a Jew, loyal to my People and my Land, should carry out?
We assume, Mr. Sanders, that if some extreme leftist minister would have asked you to serve pork in your hotel, you would have refused. So why did you not refuse to fly the PLO flag?
People who blindly follow orders are punished by the people for their disloyalty. That is what is happening now at the Inbal where so many people have cancelled their stay.
Let this be a lesson to all the minor officials everywhere in the country, in the government, in the army, in business....: the sentence "I believe I had no choice" is a sentence that must be erased from our vocabulary.
Ruth and Nadia Matar
Women in Green