Airbnb boycotts the West Bank in Israel
Accommodation rentals giant Airbnb has decided to pull all listings from the occupied West Bank in Israel. Amongst widespread international support for the move, the Israeli government were left furious with the decision, accusing Airbnb of discrimination against Israelis.
When explaining the move, Airbnb said that they believed the settlements were “core” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, and suggested they could not support them.
Legal challenges have now been mounted against the firm with the first of a potential long line being a class action from a law firm in Jerusalem. It’s expected that a large number more will follow. The first such action accuses the company of discrimination on the basis that it still allows listings from other areas considered occupied, such as Tibet and Northern Cyprus.
The Israeli government has publicly suggested that it would back or assist with legal challenges against the company such as the class action recently filed. The move, which affects approx. 200 listings and users, has been widely praised by Palestinian rights groups and the Palestinians themselves.
In response to accusations of discrimination, Airbnb has said that it is reviewing its policy on rentals and listings on all occupied locations. The company released a statement on its website which said “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.”