Over a dozen Jewish organizations, as well as prominent experts and public figures, have now joined calls for a boycott of Airbnb, identifying its decision to no longer list Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank region as anti-Semitic. Airbnb operates in all other locations where permitted by law, but will no longer list properties in Judea and Samaria unless located in an Arab village, where entry for Jews is considered dangerous. The Coalition for Jewish Values has created a petition for individuals to pledge to no longer use Airbnb’s services.
“They claim that ‘companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced,'” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV, “which condemns their own business practices in unquestionably occupied areas around the world. Clearly, this is a facade; in the end, the only unique facet of the properties they will not list is that they are owned by Jews.”
Boycott calls were spurred by Michael Oren, the American-born Deputy Minister to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who previously served as Israeli ambassador to the United States. He pointed out on Twitter that Airbnb does not blacklist “Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism,” he concluded, and said that “No one should use its services.”
The Coalition for Jewish Values compiled a list of the organizations joining with Mr. Oren, and then created an online petition which drew an immediate and animated response. “We have seen an outstanding reaction from the public,” said Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Managing Director of the CJV. “Even before presenting the boycott petition publicly, word began to spread through the community of knowledgeable Jews, those able to readily identify anti-Semitism when it rears its ugly head.”