Airbnb reverses ban on West Bank settlement listings

Airbnb has reversed its decision to remove Israeli rental listings that are located in the West Bank after a dozen American Jewish plaintiffs sued the company. The decision was reached in an out-of-court settlement.

“All listings for accommodations located in the Affected Region [the West Bank] will at all times be permitted on its platform, subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” the court settlement reads.

Seemingly capitulating to boycott pressure (because they completely underestimated the power of a counter boycott from people like me!), Airbnb had announced in November that it would remove some 200 rental listings in West Bank settlements because settlements “are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The rental company never got around to removing the listings but the Israeli families affected sued Airbnb. The plaintiffs claimed that Airbnb was discriminating against them for being Jewish since it still allowed listings by Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the West Bank.

“The policy Airbnb announced last November was abject discrimination against Jewish users of the website,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat Hadin, a pro-Israel law organization. “Whatever one’s political view, discrimination based on religious affiliation should never be the solution.”

Despite the threat to remove West Bank listings, Airbnb said in it doesn’t support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement,” the company said in a statement. “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform.”

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