Airbnb’s very idiotic decision

Airbnb, which claims to provide “access to 5+ million unique places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries”, decided that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria can no longer be among those “unique places”. They say that they made this decision after spending “considerable time speaking to various experts”.

My friendly advice to Airbnb is to ask for their money back from those “experts” and then sue them for malpractice, because Airbnb has been conned.

Let us start with the most obvious. Airbnb titles its decision “Listings in Disputed Regions”, but it mentions one and only one “region”, which it calls “Israeli settlements in the West Bank”. Apparently, the Airbnb “experts” are not aware of other disputed regions. Airbnb still services those other regions, including:

Airbnb argues in its press release that “they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced”, but apparently the “experts” that they consulted were not aware of other places in the world where people have been displaced. An obvious one is Myanmar that has often been in the news lately.

The BBC wrote in April 2018 that “nearly 700,000 have fled the destruction of their homes and persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma) for neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017”. The BBC added that “the United Nations described the military offensive in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Yet Myanmar is still serviced by Airbnb. One has to conclude that either Airbnb has no concern about people being displaced or ethnically cleansed in Myanmar, or they and their “experts” never listen to the news.

But even if we assume that the Airbnb executives and their “experts” know nothing about the rest of the world and only know about the Israel-Arab conflict, their decision is still idiotic.

The Airbnb “experts” do not appear to know that Jews were forcibly displaced from Judea and Samaria during the 1947/48 Israel-Arab war. They do not seem to know that in all areas of Judea and Samaria that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority, not only are Jews not allowed to live, but they are not even allowed to visit.

It is obvious that they do not know these facts because Airbnb is still servicing the vast majority of what they call the “West Bank”. The only part that they decided to no longer service is the part where Jews live!

The Airbnb “experts” also do not seem to know about the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Arab world, from which 850,000 Jews were expelled. Airbnb still services Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan, for example.

Airbnb has either cynically decided to discriminate against Jewish communities in order to gain the business of antisemites, or it made an honest mistake and consulted the most idiotic or biased experts that money can buy.

If Airbnb made an honest mistake, then it better reverse it soon. If it does not reverse it, we will know that neither is Airbnb honest nor did it make a mistake.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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