First Liberty says Nashville hotel caved to anti-Israel mob

First Liberty says Nashville hotel caved to anti-Israel mob

First Liberty says Nashville hotel caved to anti-Israel mob

A religious liberty law firm is demanding answers from a Nashville hotel chain that cancelled a pro-Israel gathering after being pressured by anti-Israel groups to drop the event.

Sonesta Nashville Airport is set to host a three-day conference May 20-22 sponsored by the group HaYovel, a Christian ministry that sends volunteers to Israel to work alongside its farmers.   

First Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser tells AFN the hotel caved to anti-Israel protesters, who demanded the hotel cancel the booking contract, when Sonesta could have increased security instead.

Asked about Sonesta’s contract with HaYovel to book the event, Sasser acknowledged the hotel had the right to cancel the event but it also responded to other people’s discrimination by discriminating, too.  

“In other words, doing what the discriminators are asking them to do,” Sasser says, “then that is a violation of federal and state law, and it really doesn't matter what the contract says.”

In a letter to the hotel from First Liberty, Sasser wrote that breaching the contract “bears the unmistakable and distinctly unpleasant odor of pretext for religious discrimination.”

The letter goes on to allege Sonesta unlawfully discriminated against HaYovel on religious grounds, which First Liberty contends is a violation of the Civil Rights Act.

Sontesta, a U.S.-based corporation, operates numerous hotel chains under various names such as Sonesta Select, Knights Inn, and Red Lion Hotels.

Sasser, Hiram (Liberty Institute) Sasser

AFN is seeking comment from Sonesta about the First Liberty letter and its allegations. 

Meanwhile, Sasser says the hotel’s cowardice shows what happens when people refuse to stand up for what is right.

"When do you care to begin to fight back, under our laws, to stop this kind of harassment and intimidation of the Jewish people and people who support the Jewish people?" says Sasser. "Do you want to fight on Columbia's campus? Do you want to wait until it spills over to Nashville, or are you waiting until it comes to your neighborhood?"