Rep. Tlaib’s Keynote Canceled: How a Houston Hotel Sparked a Political Firestorm

Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria has backed out of hosting the “Seize the Moment US Campaign for Palestinian Rights National Conference” planned for October 27 – 29, which was set to be keynoted by Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American congresswoman and member of ‘the squad’ known for her opposition to Israel.

There was public pressure for the hotel not to host the event which was intended to “demand to end U.S. military funding to Israel once and for all.”

The hotel cited security concerns in making its decision,

Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria serves as a place of public accommodation and does not endorse the positions of third-party groups or organizations. The safety and security of our Team Members and guests is our top priority. Given escalating security concerns in the current environment, the hotel has determined that it cannot serve as the venue for this event because of the potential risks to our Team Members and guests. Our priority is and will remain the safety and security of everyone we welcome at our hotel.

The Governor of Texas endorsed the decision:

I wish that he hadn’t gotten involved! A private business should be able to make this decision for reputational and risk reasons, however the property describes itself as a ‘public accommodation.’ While the first amendment protects against government limitations on expression, the principle is that protecting expression is only meaningful when those protections apply to the expression that we loathe, like this endorsement of Hamas killing Israeli children and abducting civilians:

Late Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson stood strongly that hotels shouldn’t make determinations about which points of view are expressed in their conference rooms, including for viewpoints that leaders of chains personally loathed.

I would have much preferred to see the group offered the opportunity to fund sufficient security if, in the view of the hotel, hosting the conference would pose risks to employees, guests, or to its facilities.

(HT: @ho94849410)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Are you out of your f_____g mind. No group that supports terrorists should ever be allowed to speak anywhere. The founding fathers had no idea of some of the horrors of modern society, or they would have certainly written things differently. Nazi sympathizers, terrorist sympathizers and anyone who supports such evil should never be given a platform to further their evil.

  2. Sara Green,

    Fox News and other neo-Republican Trump-supporting media outlets have run up the fear and hate counter like crazy in the country. We even had that January 6th 2021 insurrectionist invasion of the US Capitol because of the platform Trump and his crooks had there with anger generated and unleashed. Would you have supported hotels and media channels deplatforming Trump before that or even since?

    Bad political messages need public challenge and public discrediting — not encouragement to go underground, unnoticed and unchallenged to grow.

  3. I think it is official. GUWonder is crazy and a terrorist sympathizer. I would love to hear GU agree to loudly declare to release the hostages and have Hamas turn themselves in. Not holding my breath as GU previously said that is useless immediately following the massacre. Scary times we are in with the attack on Western Civilization values. Oh, and these tyrants should be exposed or dozed or whatever you call it.

  4. Hmmmmmm‘s comments are nutty and lack credibility with their misrepresentation provided by Hmmmmmm above.

    Hamas has long been a brutal terrorist organization — even throwing PLO members off the roofs of buildings to kill anti-Hamas Palestinians wanting a sovereign Palestinian state without Hamas — and unfortunately criminal gangs tend to keep being criminal gangs and aren’t all into surrendering to face due justice and do the proper thing.

  5. Marc Winters,

    The Founding Fathers of the country most certainly knew about terrorism, including about that used by state actors. The births and deaths of many a nation have been written by savagery, over the course of human history.

  6. Interesting article here:

    In it is a tidbit about a convention being cancelled at a Marriott in Northern Virginia because of multiple bomb threats directed at the hotel which has repeatedly hosted that convention over the years.

    There is a large and growing deficit in the respect for the freedom of speech, expression and assembly and also in respecting all people as being human beings entitled to the same rights as the persons seen in the mirrors in our own homes even when we disagree with them.

    Sadly, what else can be expected in an era when compromise and nuance are not only under-appreciated but also seen as “the enemy” to be shut out.

  7. This was to be the link with the article that mentioned the bomb and death treats at a Marriott in Northern Virginia and also provided a little more detail about the event cancelled at the Hilton in Texas:

    “ In recent days, according to the Marriott, anonymous callers have threatened to plant bombs in the hotel’s parking garage, kill specific hotel staff in their homes, and storm the hotel in a repeat of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol if the events moved forward,”

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