The popular hospitality service Airbnb picked sides Monday, when the company announced it would not allow listings in Judea and Samaria, both of which are nestled in a disputed swath of land known as the West Bank.
“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,” a statement on Airbnb’s website reads.
Some were quick to accuse executives at Airbnb of making a blatantly anti-Semitic decision:
.@airbnb says it won't list places in "disputed territories" when those residences are owned by Jews, and not otherwise. That's not a policy about disputed territories, but about Jews.
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) November 19, 2018
How do we know @Airbnb's policy is pure antiSemitism?
1. Only delisting Jewish-owned properties.
2. Not delisting properties in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. https://t.co/zMlF8U5IoW
— Caroline Glick (@CarolineGlick) November 19, 2018
Just deactivated my @Airbnb account. The answer to absurd boycotts of Israel is to boycott the boycotters. Many of the areas affected will be part of Israel in any peace deal. I’d rather pay more in a hotel than subsidize antisemitism or support Palestinian terror. #BoycottAirbnb
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) November 19, 2018
.@Airbnb you guys suck. This is a dumb, dumb move. https://t.co/V0IZbtBIW8
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) November 19, 2018
Unreal. No @Airbnb for me. Read this ?? https://t.co/UkQMSF0KxL
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) November 19, 2018
Law professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University, whose tweets are referenced above, pointed out Airbnb plans to specifically target “Israeli settlements” — not Arab settlements — in the West Bank, revealing the new policy to be a clear exercise in discrimination.
Dr. Michael Oren, an American-born Israeli historian and Jewish politician, also highlighted the hypocrisy of the decision, noting Airbnb continues to allow listings in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Moroccan-occupied Sahara, Chinese-occupied Tibet and Russian-occupied Crimea.
Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria – not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services.
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) November 19, 2018
According to The Associated Press, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan echoed Oren’s comments with a statement of his own, saying, “National conflicts exist all over the world. The senior management of Airbnb will have to explain why they specifically, and uniquely, chose to implement this political and discriminatory decision in the case of citizens of the state of Israel.”
Airbnb’s controversial decision did, however, enliven those who support the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, a global campaign promoting varying kinds of protests against Israel and it’s “occupation” of the West Bank.
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Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, praised Airbnb, but said the hospitality business just didn’t go far enough.
“We reiterate our call upon the U.N. Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation,” he said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “Israeli settlements are not just an obstacle to peace, but defy the very definition of peace.”
The left-leaning Human Rights Watch took credit Monday for Airbnb’s decision to blacklist Jewish-owned properties situated in the disputed territory.