Airbnb Reverses Policy Banning Listings in Israeli Settlements in West Bank

In one of many lawsuits that Airbnb settled, 12 American Jewish households, who’re potential Airbnb hosts or company in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, claimed that the coverage discriminated towards them on the idea of their faith.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs and president of the pro-Israel Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, which organized the lawsuit, mentioned in an announcement on Tuesday that different worldwide firms ought to take notice that “boycotting Israel and discriminating against Jews are unlawful acts which will ultimately result in dire legal consequences, public condemnations and embarrassment.”

That lawsuit was filed in federal court docket in Delaware, the place Airbnb is included. The different three Airbnb authorized settlements have been associated to litigation primarily based in New York, California and Israel.

At the crux of the lawsuit in Delaware was the plaintiffs’ objection to Airbnb’s singling out the West Bank in placing the coverage in place regardless of the existence of different disputed territories around the globe, mentioned Robert Tolchin, a New York-based lawyer for the plaintiffs.

In January, Airbnb expanded that coverage to different areas with an announcement that it could additionally take away listings in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, disputed territories in the Caucasus. Airbnb mentioned Tuesday that its West Bank coverage would even be utilized to that area, in addition to different locations the place the corporate decided housing was “central to ongoing tensions.”

In its assertion on Tuesday, Airbnb disavowed the boycott, divestment and sanctions motion, generally known as B.D.S., which Israeli politicians accused it of supporting after the announcement of the coverage final yr.

Human Rights Watch, the advocacy group, had urged Airbnb to take away listings of properties in Israeli settlements. Shortly after the November announcement, the group launched a report analyzing the standing of the land on which 139 Airbnb properties in the Israeli settlements have been positioned. The report mentioned that rental firms like Airbnb allowed the settlements to be extra worthwhile and sustainable, which facilitates Israel’s “unlawful transfer of its citizens to the settlements.”

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