Colorado-based real estate firm RE/MAX is profiting from Israel’s relentless theft of Palestinian land.
The Electronic Intifada reports: Active in the Israeli market since 1995, RE/MAX sells and rents houses and apartments in colonies reserved exclusively for Jews in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Much of that work is coordinated in an office that the Israeli subsidiary of RE/MAX runs in Maale Adumim, a major settlement in the West Bank.
A United Nations report published last year suggested that the firm’s parent company in the US could be “held accountable” for assisting Israel’s crimes. RE/MAX International, which is headquartered in Denver, “has constant interaction and influence” over its franchises around the world. The company also provides “brand name affiliation,” training and other services, according to Richard Falk, the report’s author, who was then the UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza.’
Telesur adds that: While Palestinians slip even deeper into poverty, Israel’s real estate industry is booming. But Bernard Raskin, a Zimbabwe-born former academic from South Africa who sits atop RE/MAX Israel’s empire, laments the limited supply of land in this small country. He says that Israel’s real estate market is suffering from a severe shortage of housing stock available for purchase. That’s where the further expansion of illegal settlements comes in.
RE/MAX International’s code of ethics states that its affiliates “shall undertake to eliminate any practice by real estate professionals in their community which could be damaging to the public”. The establishment of settlements is clearly damaging to the Palestinian sector of the public and enables the continued violation of Palestinian human rights.
In November, the US-based peace group CODEPINK launched a campaign “Boycott RE/MAX: No Open Homes on Stolen Land”, asking the company to cut its ties with franchises involved in the sale or rental of settlement properties. The RE/MAX campaign is part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a call by Palestinian civil society to engage in non-violent activism to end these injustices by boycotting companies and institutions that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and its discriminatory practices against Palestinians.