People who recently sent letters to RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger, about the company’s involvement in RE/MAX Israel’s sales of illegal settlement homes, received the following email from Shaun White, RE/MAX Vice President for Public Relations.
Subject: RE: RE/MAX in Violation of International Law
Your email has been received by RE/MAX, LLC in Denver, Colorado USA.
You should know RE/MAX, LLC sold the franchise rights for Israel in 1993. As a result, RE/MAX, LLC has no contractual agreement with RE/MAX Israel.
Further, it is important to note that a UN Report on the Palestinian territories distributed in 2013 contained factual errors about the RE/MAX organization. The authors of this report never consulted RE/MAX, LLC during their research process to verify any information. Additionally, the author and this report have both been discredited by many United Nations officials including the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Remodel RE/MAX campaign would like to offer the following response:
A recent report from Human Rights Watch entitled “Occupation, Inc.”: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights” directly indicts RE/MAX LLC, stating:
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.
While Re/Max Israel may have in fact been sold to Re/Max Europe in 1993, 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, and trainings. RE/MAX LLC, as the international franchise holder, has the responsibly make sure that RE/MAX Israel respects human rights and international law that prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population onto the territory it is occupying (i.e. building, renting, or selling settlement homes on occupied land).
RE/MAX’s letter of response also attacks an investigation by a highly regarded expert on international law, Richard Falk. If there are false statements about RE/MAX in Falk’s report, we ask RE/MAX to specify what they are and to provide evidence backing up their claims. Of course, RE/MAX has every motivation to deny their corporate involvement in illegal activities on Palestinian land, but unsubstantiated attacks on Richard Falk and his report do nothing to salvage RE/MAX’s reputation.
The Remodel RE/MAX campaign would like to reiterate the following abbreviated sections of Richard Falk’s report that deal with the RE/MAX International (read the entire section of Falk’s report at remodelremax.org/remodel_re_max_statement).
- “Promoting the sale of (for example by advertising) or selling property on or as part of a settlement contributes to the commission of the international crime of transferring citizens of the Occupying Power onto occupied territory”.
- “The responsibility to respect human rights requires businesses to avoid contributing to adverse human rights impacts and to mitigate such impacts when linked to their operations”.
- “By providing international brand name affiliation and recognition, start-up training, ongoing training, technological resources, and advertising and marketing, Re/Max International has an ongoing interaction and influence over its franchises”.
- “Financial institutions and real estate agents may be held accountable for their involvement with settlements in occupied Palestine. Companies, individuals and groups can be implicated for behavior that contributes to wrongful acts”.
The Remodel RE/MAX campaign will continue to request that RE/MAX establish and disseminate clear policies and guidelines for all RE/MAX brokers and agents around the globe. We believe that these policies and guidelines should include a directive that RE/MAX brokers and agents not sell, rent, or publicize properties that are built on illegally seized land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and that members of the RE/MAX network should not refer clients to brokers and agents who are involved in such illegal properties.