US/World News

Airbnb gets petition protesting settler rentals

(JTA) — An international coalition of pro-Palestinian groups is demanding that the online vacation rental company Airbnb immediately stop listing properties in West Bank Israeli settlements. The groups, which include Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, made the demands in a petition delivered to Airbnb offices in London, Paris, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. The petition has more than 140,000 signatures, the groups said. “By listing these homes, Airbnb is directly helping Israeli settlers legitimize their occupation of stolen land, contributing to a key piece of the Israeli government’s decades-long policies of occupation, discrimination, and dispossession,” the petition says. In addition to violating international law, the settlement properties are “literally and completely off-limits” to Palestinian Airbnb users, the petition says.Airbnb has not issued a response to the petition. However, in January, it said in a press statement: “We follow laws and regulations on where we can do business.”

Approximately 300 settlement properties are listed on Airbnb, many of them labeled as being in Israel rather than specifying they are located outside Israel’s 1967 borders. In addition to the petition, the coalition has launched a new microsite “parodying Airbnb rental listings and calling attention to the fact that the vacation rental company continues to list Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”

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