“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,” Airbnb said on its website.
“Our hope is that someday sooner rather than later, a framework is put in place where the entire global community is aligned so there will be a resolution to this historic conflict and a clear path forward for everybody to follow.”
I can see that they would experience political pressure to do this, but I disagree with this action, as I don't think Airbnb should get involved in politics like this.
Some are extremely upset with Airbnb for this move, and a few are even planning to leave AIrbnb because of this. One host said:
Because of Airbnb's recent announcement, sadly I will be leaving Airbnb and informing my guests through May that I am unable to host due to Airbnb's decision to remove Jewish listings in the West Bank. Except for the two immediate bookings scheduled, the others should have time to rebook - hopefully through a different home sharing website.
I am looking for the appropriate channels to discuss this important issue with Airbnb, but am unable to find the correct contact. I am also looking into different hosting sights to join. I have enjoyed my experience with Airbnb tremendously, but cannot be a part of an organization that discriminates against Jews.
In addition, the host posting this on the CC stated:
Not only did AirBNB specifically target “Israeli settlements,” according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason Law, they’ve announced that they will only disallow listings in Israeli settlements when those listings are owned by Jews. In other words, if a Jew owns an apartment in East Jerusalem, that won’t be allowed for listing; if an Arab owns an apartment in the same neighborhood, it’s fine for listing.
.... the worst part is that Airbnb has singled out Jews, and only Jews, as the one group in the world that is worthy of such censure. That’s what makes its boycott a naked act of corporate anti-Semitism.
Airbnb says an entire team “struggled to come up with the right approach.” And the right approach evidently was to bar Jews from listing the apartments and homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Airbnb is only targeting Jews — not the present government of Israel or the “Zionists” or any political entity — who live on disputed land.
“Many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced,” reads an Airbnb blog post that sounds like it was written by some poli-sci freshman who just wrapped up his first Chomsky tome.
This part highlights the hypocrisy of being selectively politically engaged...with only certain issues....while ignoring others....
.... don’t worry, you can still snag an Airbnb “modern apartment studio” in the city-center of Sevastopol, Ukraine, annexed by Russia. And Airbnb will hook you up with a “Cozy Studio” near Gulshan-Baridhara in “Tibet, China” — formerly known simply as Tibet. Hey, the Turkish have been depopulating Kurdish towns for decades, but Airbnb is there for you.
The company claims that its decision was evaluated on “whether the existence of listings is contributing to existing human suffering.” Yet in countries with stateless minorities and oppressive regimes, a two-bedroom within walking distance of your favorite tourist attraction is almost surely available.
I cannot see how the "existence of listings" causes human suffering...how any small Mom and Pop business causes suffering. But doubtless that Airbnb causes suffering with bad decisions, and ruining people's business.
Apparently Israel is considering punishing Airbnb for its actions with high taxes:
Israel has threatened to slap high taxes on Airbnb and encourage legal cases against the accommodation website, over its decision to ban listings from West Bank settlements which are considered illegal by most world powers.
I hope that such a move would not harm remaining Israeli Airbnb hosts. One option for Israel, as for other nations/states or regions which are concerned with a particular action by Airbnb, would be to lend support in creating a separate STR platform for hosts in their nation, so that a significant competitor can arise. Because one of the problems with Airbnb is the lack of competition, and thus, the paucity of options for those wanting to do short term rentals, particularly in their home, not stand alone vacation rentals. The creation of other site/s, sites that don't engage in politics, don't impose inappropriate "non-discrimination" policies which they themselves then feel free to violate or allow guests to violate, or try to control hosts' businesses, or charge high fees, block host's ability to screen guests by withholding guest photo, etc, is something that many hosts around the world are looking for.
Also, if no one in Israel listed a short term rental on Airbnb, and those who wanted to stay in an STR in Israel had to use an alternate platform, this could be effective in building a competitor business.