Do the Jews of Seattle have as much conviction as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani? Now is our opportunity to decide. The January 31, 2006, edition of the Seattle P-I carried a story under the headline ‘Olympic, Fairmont Hotels to Be Sold…Saudi behind $3.3 billion deal….’
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Hotel chain is set to become the new owner of the regal and beloved Fairmont Olympic (nee Four Seasons, nee The Olympic) Hotel. This is the same Saudi prince who offered Giuliani $10 million for post 9/11 relief while suggesting that U.S. policy toward Palestinians vis a vis Israel may have contributed to the terrorist attacks. Unlike Georgetown and Harvard Universities that recently accepted $20 million gifts to establish the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, the good mayor promptly rejected not only the money, but the notion that there was even a hint of justification in the prince’s statements.
So now we have the choice to stand with people like Mayor Giuliani and refuse to put one Jewish dime into the Saudi prince’s pocket, even though so many of us have attended and sponsored countless Jewish affairs at the hotel - weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, organizational dinners and fund-raising events, even though the hotel has a fabulous kosher kitchen and a superb staff, even though we may feel like we have lost a friend.
There are other options in this city that are ready, willing and able to accommodate the needs of our community. We may not make a dent in bin Talal’s deep pockets, but we can stand together as voices against the radical fundamentalism and blatant anti-Semitism that he represents and promotes by saying ‘No, thank you, we’re going elsewhere,’ when planning our next and future events.