Prior to the Presbyterian General Assembly in June 2016 where a resolution was passed calling on the real estate giant RE/MAX to stop selling properties in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, RE/MAX LLC CEO Dave Liniger released a letter announcing that the company had "recently taken action to ensure that RE/MAX, LLC will no longer receive any income from the sale of Jewish settlement properties in the West Bank." While Mr. Liniger’s letter tacitly acknowledges the moral and legal problems with operating in the occupied territories it does not address the fact that the Denver-based company is continuing to allow its Israeli franchise to use the RE/MAX logo and trademark to sell properties in Israeli settlements in violation of international law and US agreements.
Two weeks later RE/MAX Israel CEO Bernard Raskin told a reporter from Haaretz that they were conducting “business as usual,” further adding that the Presbyterians’ decision had “zero impact on anything we are doing. ” RE/MAX Israel currently operates in all of the large settlements and even has an office in the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin.
Regardless of whether or not RE/MAX LLC is receiving revenues from the sale of illegal settlement properties, as long as the company is continuing to allow its Israeli franchise to operate within the RE/MAX network, to use the RE/MAX logo and trademark, and to benefit from brand recognition, trainings, and real estate conventions, RE/MAX is still intricately involved in Israel’s settlement enterprise and implicated in the corresponding human rights abuses. RE/MAX Israel’s response to the recent developments exemplifies this. Pledging to cease revenue collection while continuing to allow use of the RE/MAX logo and trademark, is little more than an attempt by RE/MAX LLC to evade responsibility.
Since 2014 CODEPINK has been calling on RE/MAX LLC to stop selling homes in the occupied territories. Dave Liniger’s statement and RE/MAX Israel’s response shows that it is more important now than ever that the campaign continue to move forward. RE/MAX LLC must immediately establish and disseminate clear policies and guidelines for all RE/MAX brokers and agents around the globe that they not sell, rent, or publicize properties built on illegally seized land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. RE/MAX must also establish that members of the RE/MAX network should not refer clients to brokers and agents who are involved in such illegal properties. Until such time, and as long as the RE/MAX balloon continues to fly over illegal settlement homes, CODEPINK and others will continue their work to Remodel RE/MAX.