Dear Airbnb (via StandWithUs Israel letter system)
I would like to start with the introduction written by StandWithUs Israel, because I agree wholeheartedly.
“Your decision to prohibit Jews from listing their homes in the West Bank on your site is deeply disturbing to me, as someone who supports justice and peace for all people in the region. You are engaging in discrimination on multiple levels, and I strongly urge you to reconsider.”
In a way I fully understand why you chose the Arab-Israeli conflict as the only one for your foray into trying to be a moral leader. …
You have been led to believe that the settlements are at the core of the conflict, and that the conflict is among the most important in the world. It probably seems so easy to score some points by speaking out. After all, the other contentious areas you operate in are so much less known and seem so much less clear cut.
It is also common knowledge within my networks that the BDS movement has been relentlessly working you over – what a relief it must have been on 19 November to just cave in!
The key things I want you to consider now are as follows:
– The settlements are *not* in fact the core of the conflict. In addition, the conflictis very far from being among the most important or deadly in the world!
Promulgating and believing these myths *makes* the conflict and the settelements more and more central, – especially for those who are intellectually or morally lazy, looking for a quick “feel good”. This spreads ignorance, diverts attention from the important, complex issues that need working on, and creates the ugly, hateful belief that Israel is solely to blame for the conflict.
– The BDS movement is not doing anything constructive to help the Palestinians. *All* of its focus is on harming the world’s only Jewish nation-state.
And you have been made into a pawn.
When you get right down to it, AirBNB has no business getting involved in this kind of mess. We are many people and organisations who know the Israeli and Palestinian situations very well, and who will be happy to back you up when you – as I know you must! – reverse the decision and denounce BDS. Please let us know what you have been subjected to and let us help you to fight back!
I also have a positive suggestion for relevant activism on your part.
Some of the renters who use the service are making their neighborhoods uncomfortable with the constant traffic of strangers, no matter how well behaved. Some of them practice tax evasion. Some of them engage in unfair competition. Some of them cancel reservations at great inconvenience for those who were looking forward to staying at the property. So:
You should create or improve a code of conduct and do some follow-ups to make sure that renters follow it in order to stay listed.
Let me close with the words of StandWithUs:
“While you may not have been aware of the full context and implications of your actions, they are clearly discriminatory, hypocritical, and harmful to communities on the ground. I call on you to reject pressure from anti-Israel extremist groups and reverse your decision.”
Dina Grossman Kjaergaard – writing as a private citizen and user of AirBNB
I am also the manager and editor of the Danish branch of “Med Israel for fred – MIFF” – with Israel for Peace. We want Israel to be able to live in peace – without physically violent attacks and without a propaganda war being waged against her. Please feel free to write for more information: email@example.com.
PS: Please take the time to read two very important articles that might help you truly understand how you have been duped and misused.
NGO Monitor via JNS and United with Israel Staff: European Countries, Anti-Israel Groups Behind Airbnb’s BDS Policy (21 nov 2018 – United with Israel)
Alan Baker: Saeb Erekat, Airbnb, and BDS (21 nov 2018 – JCPA – Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)