Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Class action lawsuit filed against Airbnb by Israeli settlers

Petition alleges the home rental company doesn't have a coherent policy on ‘conflict regions’ and its decision to remove listings in Jewish settlements in the West Bank constitutes 'extreme and offensive discrimination.'

The first class action lawsuit against Airbnb was filed Thursday to the Jerusalem District Court by the residents of the West Bank who advertised their apartments on the website after the rental giant removed 200 listings in Jewish settlements in the area.



The petition alleges that removing or restricting the listings solely in the West Bank constitutes extreme, offensive and outrageous discrimination, adding that the court must rule the company should not be permitted to ban listings based on the country of origin of the apartments’ owners.


The main petitioner, Maanit Rabinovitz, is a resident of the Kida settlement near Shilo in the West Bank, and until recently she was one of the hundreds of locals who advertised their apartments on the company's website.


Airbnb (Photo: shutterstock)
Airbnb (Photo: shutterstock)


Rabinovitz claims the company never contacted her regarding their new change in policy and she only learned about the listings being removed through the media, adding that the decision was made due to pressure from various bodies calling for a boycott of Israel—led by the civil organization Kerem Navot—which represents an integral part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.


"In contrast to how Airbnb tries to present the issue—as if the decision is a result of a careful and detailed examination of every ‘conflict region’—this policy is actually directed solely against those who live in Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” stated the petition.


The petitioner emphasizes there are dozens, if not hundreds of conflict regions in the world that do not have similar restrictions imposed on them by the home rental company. For instance Tibet—where Chinese authorities forcefully imposed administrative control.


The petition asserts that Airbnb has no coherent policy regarding conflict regions seeing as it’s targeting exclusively the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.


West Bank settlements (Photo: Reuters)
West Bank settlements (Photo: Reuters)


"As far as Airbnb is concerned, their clients can deny women or minorities to rent apartments from them, offer listings in warzones or in regions where tens of thousands of people have been expelled from their homes. The only thing that is prohibited is to be a settler in the State of Israel,” stressed the petition.


The petition adds the company’s decision directly contradicts their zero tolerance policy when it comes to racism and discrimination.


“Israeli settlers, it turns out, do not belong to the utopian community that Airbnb is trying to create, and are not entitled to the same level of respect," it concluded.



פרסום ראשון: 11.22.18, 20:44
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