‘No Open House on Stolen Land’: CODEPINK disrupts RE/MAX convention to protest settlement profiteering

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on 18 Comments

Since September 2014, the global real estate giant RE/MAX LLC has been the target of a corporate responsibility campaign by  CODEPINK Women for Peace because of the company’s involvement in the sale and rental of illegal settlement properties in the Occupied West Bank. Each year the Denver-based RE/MAX LLC holds its annual convention in Las Vegas. Around 6,000 real estate brokers and agents from 62 countries around the world attend. This year we at CODEPINK decided it was time to take our message about RE/MAX’s settlement profiteering to its Las Vegas convention. As CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans said, “People around the world are waking up to the immorality of settlement profiteering, and it is unclear why RE/MAX continues to risk its brand’s reputation through its involvement in illegal activities in the Occupied West Bank.”

On Tuesday, March 1 the RE/MAX R4 conference featured a talk by RE/MAX Israel VP of Marketing, Gil Le-ran entitled “Mind of Steel.” About five minutes into the talk, as Li-ran was boasting to the audience about how he impervious and powerful he is, allowing nothing to get in his way (apparetnly not even international law and Palestinians’ human rights) CODEPINK founder Jodie Evans and I got up and went to the front of the room, unfurling a banner that read “No Open House on Stolen Land.”  We informed the crowd that through RE/MAX Israel’selling of homes in illegal Israeli settlements, RE/MAX LLC is profiting from violations of international law.

In an attempt to muffle our message, two attendees clamped their hands over our mouths and attempted to pull the banner from us. Despite their efforts to wrest the banner from our hands, we held it firmly as we were hustled down a long hall and two sets of escalators leading out the building. On the way out the we distributed postcards that described  what RE/MAX is doing in Israel/Palestine and asking RE/MAX LLC CEO, Dave Liniger, to set standards for RE/MAX brokers and agents that they may not sell, rent, or advertise properties in Israeli settlements in the the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Agents from RE/MAX Israel do business in all the major West Bank settlements, including those in Occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention states that an occupying power may not move its civilian population onto the territory it is occupying. RE/MAX’s profiteering and complicity have drawn condemnation from human rights activists around the world. A recent report from Human Rights Watch entitled “Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights,” directly indicting RE/MAX LLC, states:

By advertising, selling and renting homes in settlements, both the Israeli franchise of RE/MAX and RE/MAX LLC, the owner of the global franchise network, facilitate and benefit from the transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory and the associated human rights abuses, contravening their rights responsibilities.

Since 2014 CODEPINK’s Remodel RE/MAX campaign has been calling on RE/MAX to stop profiting from Israeli violations of international law. Specifically, the campaign asks RE/MAX LLC to set standards for its franchises, prohibiting them from selling, renting or advertising properties on illegally seized land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Additionally the campaign asks RE/MAX to establish that members of the RE/MAX network should not refer clients to agents and brokers who are involved in such activities.

As part of the Remodel RE/MAX campaign, people around the US and world sent letters to RE/MAX LLC CEO, Dave Liniger, about the company’s involvement in RE/MAX Israel’s sales of illegal settlement homes. RE/MAX LLC responded by saying that it had sold the franchise rights for RE/MAX Israel to RE/MAX Europe in 1993. They claimed that because of this, “RE/MAX, LLC has no contractual agreement with RE/MAX Israel.” If it is indeed the case that RE/MAX LLC has no connection to RE/MAX Israel and is not able to affect the illegal actions of the franchise, why then was RE/MAX Israel’s Gil Li-ran speaking at the RE/MAX R4 convention? Furthermore, both RE/MAX Europe and RE/MAX Israel are part of the Re/Max international network of franchises and are therefore directly connected to RE/MAX LLC. RE/MAX Israel uses the RE/MAX brand name and trademark. They benefit from RE/MAX association, name recognition, trainings, and participate in and lead talks at the annual RE/MAX R4 convention.

As the international franchise holder, RE/MAX LLC has the responsibly to make sure that its profits are not coming from violations of international law. As RE/MAX LLC has been remiss in fulfilling this obligation, it becomes the responsibility of everyone to see that RE/MAX ceases selling homes in illegal Israeli settlements. CODEPINK  will continue its campaign targeting RE/MAX using a variety of methods and tools–including disruptions such as the one we just did in Las Vegas–until the company lives up to its ethical, moral and legal responsibilities.

About Ariel Gold

Ariel Gold is a staff member of CODEPINK. After co-leading CODEPINK’s 2015 delegation to Palestine, she spent three weeks staying in Hebron with Youth Against Settlements in Hebron.

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18 Responses

  1. Dan Walsh
    March 7, 2016, 3:34 pm

    Political Zionism’s relationship to exploitative corporate real-estate is nothing new. It has been a core component of all Zionist schemes for de-populating/re-populating Palestine from the earliest days of the Zionist enterprise. These posters from the late 1940’s onward are good examples of the colonial values celebrated by Zionism. RE/MAX is merely the latest in a long line of Zionist agencies to exploit stolen Palestinian lands for profit.

    No Palestinians ever appear in these posters.

    Yad LaMa’abara – 1952

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/yad-lamaabara-1952

    Penny By Penny

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/penny-by-penny

    Save To Build

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/save-to-build

    A Roof Over the Head of the Children of Immigrants

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/a-roof-over-the-head-of-the-children-of-immigrants

    The Relocation of Immigrants

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/the-relocation-of-immigrants

    People’s Housing

    http://www.palestineposterproject.org/poster/peoples-housing

  2. rugal_b
    March 8, 2016, 3:17 am

    I wish I could find out where these code-pink heros own property in the US, so I could picket on the lawn, protesting their theft and appropriation of native American land.

    • Mooser
      March 8, 2016, 1:29 pm

      “I wish I could find out where these code-pink heros own property in the US, so I could picket on the lawn,”

      You go right ahead! But why stay out on the lawn? A few explanations from you “rugal b”, and I expect they will hand over the deed to the place. While tearfully begging your forgiveness, and promising to pay the utilities for the next ten years.

    • inbound39
      March 8, 2016, 2:47 pm

      rugal….that is an invalid Zionist statement that always begs correction. At the time America was colonized Right of Conquest was perfectly legal. At the end of WW2 due to the large numbers of predominently Jewish refugees caused by the German Occupation of Europe,Right of Conquest was outlawed. The Provisional Government of Israel and successive governments of Israel are and have been completely aware of the illegitimacy of Right of Conquest. Israel recieves reminders every year from the UN that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible. Israel signed and ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention that outlaws and explicitly details the illegitimacy of Right of Conquest. For those well understood and publicised reasons your argument is totally invalid.

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 6:02 pm

        “Inbound,” you are dealing here with the true troll. “rugal b” is the genuine article. That is, a person posting whatever insulting tripe he can come up with under a very-badly assumed (oh, and completely indefinite and ever changing) caricature of a “social justice advocate” hoping to draw racist and bigoted responses.

        And then, whoopee, he declares how the Palestinian solidarity movement is just a cover for white racism!

      • rugal_b
        March 9, 2016, 3:23 am

        LOL what sort of argument is this? It was legal then according to whose justice system and whose court of law? I’m sure killing peaceful peoples and stealing their land afterwards have been legally wrong even from the times of Hammurabi.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 9, 2016, 3:35 am

        I’m sure killing peaceful peoples and stealing their land afterwards have been legally wrong even from the times of Hammurabi.

        wrong. while immoral it was not illegal.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_conquest

        Right of conquest

        The right of conquest is the right of a conqueror to territory taken by force of arms. It was traditionally a principle of international law that has gradually given way in modern times until its proscription after World War II when the crime of war of aggression was first codified in the Nuremberg Principles and then finally, in 1974, as a United Nations resolution 3314.[1]

      • rugal_b
        March 9, 2016, 4:23 am

        At the time America was colonized Right of Conquest was perfectly legal. – Inbound93

        Tali Shapira, a world-renowned anti-Zionist and human rights activist once said –

        “Israel’s colonial policies are not limited to the territories it occupies, but also to land it has already colonized. Much like the Native Americans, the indigenous Palestinian Bedouins have been relegated to reservations, their well-documented original lands shrinking to mere make-shift villages, because Israel keeps destroying what they build”

        I stand with the Native Americans as much as I stand with Palestinians and all other oppressed, because the truth is on the side of the oppressed. I do not believe in your lies claiming the massacre of native peoples by white invaders was “perfectly legal”. I do not believe in your lies claiming the theft of native land by white invaders was “perfectly legal”.

      • Kay24
        March 9, 2016, 6:33 am

        Rugal either attacks/ridicules the writer, or hijacks the thread with utter BS so that the crimes of Israel will be forgotten when commenters responds to him.

        A typical hasbara troll from the way he goes on. Perhaps Neil Lazarus, their coach from Jerusalem taught him. Here is Lazarus during a video conference telling hundreds of students from all over the world that if they cannot convince them “confuse them”. This is an old video, most probably the liars of hasbara has increased in number.

      • eljay
        March 9, 2016, 7:17 am

        || Kay24: Rugal either attacks/ridicules the writer, or hijacks the thread with utter BS so that the crimes of Israel will be forgotten when commenters responds to him. A typical hasbara troll from the way he goes on. ||

        Well, y’see, according to the progressive Marxist belief in determinism in human behavior, he has been uniquely molded to play a specific role in the universe. What you see is him behaving according to his predetermined qualities.

        For all we know, he may not even want to be a hasbara troll…but he has no say in the matter.

      • Mooser
        March 9, 2016, 12:36 pm

        “I do not believe in your lies claiming the theft of native land by white invaders was “perfectly legal”.”

        So nue so sue! Consult your lawyer, work up a case, and before you know it, you’ll be standing in their living room, shouting “A broch tzu Columbus”!!

        “I stand with the…”

        Nah, you mostly spin, and always come to rest facing the same direction.

      • MHughes976
        March 9, 2016, 4:15 pm

        If we accept that killing and taking possession was what happened then we surely have to accept that no one could add legality or any positive quality to anything so horrible, particularly when accompanied (as I think it often was) by treaty violations, which have to be the opposite of legality even in the most primitive pre-20th century understanding. It’s good that aggression and conquest have been denounced in modern declarations etc, but that doesn’t mean that our ancestors did not know that terrible wrongs were being done, though justifications and excuses were lined up often enough, as they are now. Cicero’s statement of the basic principle that it is wrong to harm another for gain to oneself, which he applies to international law (On Duties 3, para. 22), is still worth reading though it’s not beyond critique – as neither is the UN apparatus of rules.
        The degree of restitution may be debated, perhaps should be debated much more, but the heirs of the dispossessed Native Anericans are neither excluded from the United States nor disfranchised if living subject to its sovereign power. It would be good if the Palestinians could advance at least to that point and various Palestinian organisations are calling for Western support along those lines. I think we should respond.
        Meanwhile I share Mooser’s view of trolls, even though I know that a well-trained troll can sometimes strike a good blow with his stone club.

      • rugal_b
        March 10, 2016, 7:01 am

        “dispossessed Native Anericans are neither excluded from the United States nor disfranchised if living subject to its sovereign power” – MHughes

        Being included only under the terms of the colonizer is far from ideal, and something I am certain the Palestinians if given the same choice, would rather die from hunger strikes and protests. As the renowned human rights activist Tali Shapiro correctly stated, there is no difference between what has happened and is still happening to Native Americans and the Palestinians. Both are victims of equal cruelty and malfeasance, by folks from the same breed originating in Europe.

        “It would be good if the Palestinians could advance at least to that point and various Palestinian organisations are calling for Western support along those lines.”

        To what point? Native Americans have no land of their own, no sovereign government representing their interests, no educational system that teach their languages and cultures to the next generation, no jobs, no money, no positive representation in the media, almost zero political power, no access to quality healthcare and healthy lifestyle etc as of 2016, almost a century after being forced to accept American citizenship.The Native American men are so depressed and psychologically disturbed that they often resort to domestic violence as means of conflict resolution. The women are going missing, being beaten up, or worse, murdered while being ignored by the state and wider society. Even more tragically, their children are committing suicide as young as 8 years old.

        Why the hell would any Palestinian with a working brainstem want to advance to this point? Scratch that, why would any human with a heart and soul want to? Stop spewing utter crap!

        References for anyone interested :

        Poverty and Despair: The Failed Policies & Human Rights Violations directed against Native Americans (http://www.globalresearch.ca/poverty-and-despair-the-failed-policies-human-rights-violations-directed-against-native-americans/11085)

        Hollywood horror: Actress’ death highlights Native American women’s woes (http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2015/3/4/hollywood-horror-actress-death-highlights-native-american-womens-woes.html)

        The Shocking Rates Of Violence And Abuse Facing Native American Kids (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/11/18/3593300/violence-native-american-kids/)

        The Facts on Violence Against American Indian/Alaskan Native Women (https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Violence%20Against%20AI%20AN%20Women%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf)

        Missing and Murdered Women Scope Surpasses the 1,200 Estimated Victims: Government
        Read (http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/16/missing-and-murdered-women-scope-surpasses-1200-estimated-victims-government-163440)

        Supreme Court Ruling Perpetuates The Oppression Of Native Americans (http://www.mintpressnews.com/the-supreme-courts-ruling-on-the-fate-of-baby-veronica-perpetuates-oppression-of-native-american-culture/164700/)

  3. Citizen
    March 8, 2016, 3:38 am

    How many more US state legislatures have penalized BDS supporters and associates? 0 on cable TV news about it although it’s violation of First Amendment is clear

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    March 8, 2016, 3:14 pm

    I never cared for this real estate company anyhow. Some of their selling tactics I find rather unethical.

  5. Atlantaiconoclast
    March 9, 2016, 11:01 am

    CodePink: Don’t appeal to the compassion of Americans for other peoples, for it is overrated. Appeal to their self and national interest. Expose Israel’s crimes against the US. Till Israel is as demonized as Iran is, nothing will change.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 9, 2016, 11:13 am

      Don’t appeal to the compassion of Americans for other peoples, for it is overrated.

      hmm

    • eljay
      March 9, 2016, 11:26 am

      || Atlantaiconoclast @ March 9, 2016, 11:01 am ||

      Can’t say that I disagree with that comment.

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