Airbnb has been under a sustained pressure campaign by anti-Israeli activist groups to cease listing homes and apartments for rent in Israeli Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”).

The area was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the Jordanians after Jordan captured the area in Israel’s War of Independence. The 1949 Armistice Line was where the fighting stopped, and left many historically Jewish areas, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, in Jordanian hands. Israel recaptured the area in 1967.

Israeli Jews in those areas live in settlements because the regular housing market is not available. Palestinians are forbidden by the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups, often under threat of death, from selling or renting to Jews. And given the long history of violence, including stabbings and shootings, directed towards Jews in those areas, it would be too dangerous.

The West Bank is disputed territory. For a history of why the settlements are not illegal and the area is not illegally occupied, see our prior posts.

The campaign against Airbnb was led by groups like the extremist U.S. Campaign for Palestinian rights, the misleadingly named “Jewish Voice for Peace,” and Code Pink. The obsessive-compulsive anti-Zionist Ariel Gold of Code Pink even disrupted Airbnb meetings.

The anti-Israel Human Rights Watch, which is leading a UN effort to blacklist companies doing business in the West Bank, was about to come out with a report slamming Airbnb, according to an HRW executive.

Airbnb has capitulated. It will boycott Jews living in the West Bank. While it couches its language referring to “settlements,’ that is just another way of saying Jews because Jews only can live in “settlements” in the West Bank.

Here is part of the announcement on Airbnb’s website:

Listings in Disputed Regions

There are conflicting views regarding whether companies should be doing business in the occupied territories that are the subject of historical disputes between Israelis and Palestinians.

US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced. Others believe that companies should not withdraw business operations from these areas.

For us, the question centers on the approximately 200 Airbnb listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and whether they should be available for rent on our platform. We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region. Our team has wrestled with this issue and we have struggled to come up with the right approach.

In the past, we made clear that we would operate in this area as allowed by law. We did this because we believe that people-to-people travel has considerable value and we want to help bring people together in as many places as possible around the world. We also explained that going forward we would ask questions, listen to experts, seek out our community for their thoughts, and continue to learn.

Since then, we spent considerable time speaking to various experts — including those who have criticized our previous approach — about this matter. As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly. Accordingly, we have developed a framework for evaluating how we should treat listings in occupied territories. When evaluating these types of situations, we will:

  1. Recognize that each situation is unique and requires a case-by-case approach.
  2. Consult with a range of experts and our community of stakeholders.
  3. Assess any potential safety risks for our hosts and guests.
  4. Evaluate whether the existence of listings is contributing to existing human suffering.
  5. Determine whether the existence of listings in the occupied territory has a direct connection to the larger dispute in the region.

When we applied our decision-making framework, we concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.

This policy on disputed territories raises several questions about why Jews are being singled out. For example, you can rent through Airbnb in occupied Tibet.

And in occupied Northern Cyprus.

And in occupied Western Sahara:

It’s pretty clear that when Airbnb says “disputed territories,” what is means is “disputed territories” controlled by Jews.

I emailed Airbnb’s press office the following questions:

With regard to the announcement regarding Israeli Settlements, , please respond to the following questions:

1. Are only Jewish homes in West Bank subject to this ban, or does it include non-Jewish (Palestinian) homes in the West Bank?

2. Does it cover the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, or any part of “East” Jerusalem?

3. Can you name any other area that is subject to ban under your disputed territories policy other than Jewish homes in the West Bank?

I also tweeted these questions to the co-founders of Airbnb:

As of this writing, I have received no response.

Airbnb has joined the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. It matters little that it is limited to Israeli settlements. It is being touted as a great BDS victory because it does damage to Jews.

Airbnb is complicit in a culture of Jew hatred promoted by the BDS movement.

I hope Israeli kicks it out of the country completely.

[FeaturedImage: Airbnb Founders and senior executives, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nate Blecharczyk, via Airbnb website]


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