Arab-American lobby group urges Days Inn boycott

WASHINGTON — The largest Arab-American lobby group is urging a boycott of the Days Inn hotel chain to protest the opening of a resort hotel in an Israeli settlement.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has expressed "grave concern" about the location of a Days Inn franchise in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.

The heavily fortified settlement bloc, which is the largest part of Gaza still under Israeli control, has been a source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Your decision to build a hotel on an illegal Israeli settlement on occupied land makes you a participant in the violation of international law and supports the existence of settlements, which continue to pose a threat to peace in the region," Hala Maksoud, president of the ADC, wrote in a letter to Joseph Kane, president of Days Inn.

The hotel, called the Gush Katif Days Inn "Palm Beach Hotel," opened in June.

Until the hotel is closed, Maksoud wrote, "Arab Americans — who number 3 to 5 million — and others who oppose the legitimization of Israeli settlement-building activity will no longer patronize Days Inn hotels in the United States or abroad."

A spokesman for Days Inn said the hotel is owned by the company's licensee in Israel, not by Days Inn. He declined to comment, however, on whether Days Inn had any input into or control over the selection of that particular location.

The spokesman also declined to comment on the proposed boycott and the letter of protest.