Israel

Airbnb Facing More Backlash over “Discriminatory” Israel Boycott

Airbnb, the international online rental marketplace, is facing further backlash for its decision last week to no longer list rentals of Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank, as the city of Beverly Hills unanimously passed a resolution calling the practice “discriminatory,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Sunday.

Describing Airbnb’s new policy “antithetical to the values that we hold dear in Beverly Hills,” the resolution said that the decision reflected “hatred, prejudice, ignorance and hypocrisy.” The resolution stated that “prejudice and discrimination based on religion have no place in our community, country and world.”

The resolution asserted that the City of Beverly Hills opposed Airbnb’s “discriminatory decision to remove all listings in Jewish settlements in the West Bank,” and called on the company to “correct this act of disrespect to the land of Israel and restore its original services immediately.”

If Airbnb does not reverse its decision, the city called “upon all civilized people across the globe to boycott Airbnb until such time as they desist from these despicable anti-Semitic actions.”

In a statement released on behalf of the city, Mayor Julian Gold called Airbnb’s action “deplorable, and stated the resolution “reflects the City Council’s ongoing commitment to Israel and to exposing hatred anywhere it exists.”

Vice Mayor John Mirisch added, “Airbnb is not welcome in Beverly Hills as long as its policies are based on anti-Jewish double standards.”

Legal scholar, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, illustrated the double standard in an op-ed published Monday in The Wall Street Journal.

“Airbnb lists homes in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, one of the world’s most brutal occupations. It lists vacation homes in northern Cyprus, which Turkey invaded, expelling almost all Greek Cypriots and expropriating their homes. Nor does Airbnb have a problem serving Kashmir, Tibet and other such places,” Kontorovich, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, wrote.

Kontorovich also noted that the Kohelet Policy Forum, which he directs, recently released a report that showed that many companies operate in these other areas subject to territorial dispute without being subjected to the pressure Airbnb was subjected to over its presence in the West Bank.

He noted that previously Airbnb had rejected pressure to delist Jewish properties in the West Bank, but it reversed itself when it was named in a Human Rights Watch report for those listings. It also may be included in a United Nations Human Rights Council blacklist of companies doing business with Jews in the West Bank.

The pressure that apparently compelled Airbnb to submit to the discriminatory boycott, according to Kontorovich, “underscores the need for Congress to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would bar U.S. firms from complying with U.N. boycotts of Israel, like they’re already prohibited from adhering to the Arab League’s boycott.”

[Photo: Sergio Almonte / YouTube ]