Don’t Blame Airbnb

The Jewish world is in shock. Airbnb announced it would be pulling all Israeli West Bank listings from it’s platform. Israeli politicians from both the left and the right condemned Airbnb.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center released a statement calling the move “hypocritical” and “anti-Semitic,” and called on its supporters and followers to boycott the ubiquitous home-rental platform (#BoycottAirbnb).

Caroline Glick said we know that Airbnb’s new policy is “pure anti-Semitism” because “1. Only delisting Jewish-owned properties. 2. Not delisting properties in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.”

As Jews, we talk about how others hate us and are out to get us, but anti-Semitism has nothing to do with Airbnb’s decision.

In fact, quite the opposite is true: Airbnb wants to make a difference in the world. They want peace — and they believe this helps get us one step closer.

But wait. So why doesn’t Airbnb blacklist other “controversial” listings? “Not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea,” as Michael Oren so eloquently Tweeted.

Simple: We asked for this.

We Jews came up with the idea to forcibly remove citizens of the State of Israel – Jews – from their homes, schools, synagogues and farms.

We Jews came up with the idea that it’s not only worthwhile, but critical, that we negotiate with our sworn enemies. (You want me dead. I want to live. Should we meet halfway?)

We Jews came up with the idea to hand the keys of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in the world, to the Islamic Waqf after capturing it in a win-or-die defensive war.

We Jews came up with the idea to “knock” on the roofs of terrorists and to spend 45 minutes on the phone with neighbors in adjoining buildings to convince the residents to move out lest they be hurt or rattled by the subsequent precision bombs.

We Jews came up with the idea to drop $140,000 dollar precision bombs on vacant buildings and fields—and market those properties as “strategic assets” of the enemy.

We Jews came up with the idea to release bloodthirsty, unrepentantly proud murderers from prisons after life and limb were risked or lost in their capture.

Simon Wiesenthal is right: Airbnb can’t be expected to be geopolitical experts. Nor can most people who take sides on the matter. But when the optics are this black and white, one doesn’t need to be an expert in anything to know who is in the right.

It’s visceral: The side that is always trying to prove its innocence, the side that bends over backward to display it’s peace-lovingness, the side that wants you to know that they don’t hate anybody. That’s obviously the side that is wrong.

How could you not hate those that want you dead? How would you not shoot-to-kill those that you say are out to kill you? How would you expel your own family from their homes if you believed that they truly had a right to be there? And why would you be willing to endanger the rest of your country, if you didn’t somehow believe that you were in the wrong?

We, as Jews, set the agenda. Not our enemies and not Airbnb and not the average onlooker. If we don’t want them to act like we don’t belong, let’s start acting like we do.

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn, raised in California, Saadya Notik traveled the world as an ambassador for the largest Jewish organization before founding the Shabbat Society -- an invite-only Friday night dinner group for New York City's least-affiliated and most talented young Jews.
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