Uruguay Hostel in Hot Water for Rejecting Israelis’ Reservation

The World Trade Center Montevideo, the second-tallest building in Uruguay, which houses the Israeli embassy.

A youth hostel in Uruguay told two Israelis to find somewhere else to stay when the owner found out his potential guests’ nationality, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported. Amit Bradush and his traveling partner were told in no uncertain terms by Mauricio Pinero, owner of the Buena Vista ecological resort, that he rejected the Israelis’ reservation because he disagrees with Israeli policy, the report quoted local daily El Pais as saying.

However, political policy was not the reason he rejected the Israelis. “I am neither a discriminator nor an anti-Semite,” the report quoted Pinero as saying. “The kids who come after finishing military service in Israel have a profile …  things that are not good. We work with a different type of audience. It is not a problem with anyone in particular,” he said.

In a statement, the Comite Central Israelita, Uruguay’s umbrella Jewish organization, which represents the country’s 12,000 Jews, said that it rejected Pinero’s action. “Our society is pluralistic and diverse. Let us not allow isolated facts to distill malice, spreading prejudice and bad intention,” the Comite said of the case, which has made strong headwinds in the country, the JTA report said.

Commenting on the incident, the Israeli ambassador to Uruguay said that “it is an unpleasant case of discrimination against Israeli citizens, based solely on their identity. It was not based on the political opinion of the tourists, the owner of the hostel did not even know the couple, it seems a case of blind prejudice and I hope it is an isolated case.”