A Jewish settler has filed a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb for loss of earnings, after the home rental company decided to de-list settlement properties in the West Bank.
Ma’anit Rabinovich from the settlement of Kida in the Shilo Valley argued that Airbnb’s removal of about 200 Jewish-owned properties was “outrageous discrimination”.
Israeli ministers, including Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, had even called on the West Bank property-owners to sue the US-based company.
Meanwhile, Shaked said she was exploring ways to file criminal lawsuits against Airbnb and was working with Israel’s attorney-general to that end.
Rabinovich alleged discrimination “on the grounds of place of residence, country of origin and beliefs,” and asked the court to order Airbnb not to remove adverts for homes in the settlements, which are deemed illegal under international law.
She is also suing Kerem Navot, an Israeli non-governmental organisation (NGO) set up in 2012 to monitor Israeli land policy in the West Bank, which worked with Human Rights Watch to draft a damning report, called ‘Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land.’
The 65-page report said Airbnb was “facilitating” the rental of property on stolen Palestinian land “under conditions of inherent discrimination [in that] Israelis and foreigners may pay to stay on the property, but Palestinians may not”.
Airbnb’s decision was welcomed by British Jewish group Yachad as being “consistent with agreements Israel itself has signed with the EU, which excludes settlements,” but it was condemned by the Board of Deputies as “singling out the Jewish state”.
Listen to this week’s episode of the Jewish Views Podcast!