Calls for Airbnb Users to Shut Accounts over Israeli Settlements


Campaigners called on supporters of the Palestinian cause to at least temporarily deactivate their Airbnb accounts on Wednesday to protest its listings in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

After Israeli pressure, the company last month reversed course and scrapped plans to ban homes in settlements from listing on the site.

The decision has led to fresh anger from groups opposed to the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

A range of organisations including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy have backed a call for an at least temporary deactivation, with organisers saying thousands had pledged to do so.

"Ultimately we would like Airbnb to reverse its decision but we know that won't be easy," Salem Barahmeh, executive director of PIPD, told AFP.

"But I think what we ultimately want to do is end this culture of impunity where international companies are allowed to be complicit in supporting war crimes and Israeli settlements that have been responsible for displacing Palestinians."

Airbnb declined to comment, pointing instead to its statement from the April reversal.

That statement says that while the company will not ban settlement homes it will give all profits from those listings to charities.

Campaigners say this does not stop the settlers from making profits.

Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns, in addition to 200,000 living in settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.

Settlements are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The date of the protest coincides with the Palestinian commemoration of what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their land in the war surrounding the creation of Israel.

Comments 2
Missing arturo 15 May 2019, 19:04

Airbnb faced a legal claim in the US that it was discriminating against Jews in the West Bank by refusing to list homes owned by Jews while listing homes owned by non-Jews. Airbnb settled the case because it expected to lose, and allowed the listing of all homes. Hurting Airbnb’s case was that it listed all homes in other occupied territories.

Thumb s.o.s 15 May 2019, 21:08

I wasn’t aware that non Jews were living in these new kibbutz... on stolen land. That’s definitely news to me. That would imply these people aren’t in Israel for their Aliyah and are somehow impostors allowed in by the occupation forces. Interesting facts, isn’t it ?

If my flat in NY or Paris was being squatted and rented by the same squatters on airBNB I’d be glad if they were prevented to do so.