Airbnb reverses, will allow listings in Israeli settlements


Airbnb is rescinding its plan to bar listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The home-sharing company announced in November that it would remove about 200 listings in the West Bank, which is territory claimed by Palestinians. Airbnb said Tuesday it will now allow properties in Israeli settlements to be listed, but will donate all of its profits from properties in the West Bank to humanitarian aid organizations.

The company said it will also apply the same approach in other disputed territories in the world, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal,” Airbnb said.

Supporters of Airbnb’s initial plan expressed disappointment.

Biden Snubs Brazilian President by Walking Offstage Without Handshake, Viral Reaction Says It All

“Donating profits from unlawful settlement listings, as they’ve promised to do, does nothing to remedy the human suffering they have acknowledged that their activities cause,” said the advocacy group Human Rights Watch in a statement. “By continuing to do business in settlements, they remain complicit in the abuses settlements trigger.”

But others celebrated the news.

“I believe other companies considering boycotts are going to take real note of the mistake Airbnb made and refuse to act against Israel and the Jewish community,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, a Tel Aviv-based Israeli advocacy group.

San Francisco-based Airbnb was sued in U.S. federal court by 12 dual U.S.-Israeli citizens who own homes in the settlements. Airbnb’s reversal settles that case.

“As a provider of a service to the public, Airbnb is not permitted to refuse to provide services to selected religious groups to engineer who it thinks should be allowed to live where,” said Robert Tolchin, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “We are gratified that the legal process has worked.”

The plan didn’t affect about 20,000 other listings throughout Israel, including listings in other disputed areas like east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Airbnb announced its reversal late Tuesday Israeli time, in the midst of the country’s national elections. During the campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected, a step that would likely end the remaining hopes of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Darshan-Leitner said she thinks Airbnb “intentionally sought out the busiest news day of the Israeli calendar in order to bury the story of their embarrassing walk back.”

Airbnb didn’t comment beyond its blog post announcing the change.

Fox's Brian Kilmeade Calls KJP's Border Comments 'The Most Worthless Series of Sentences I Could Imagine'

Even after its announcement in November, Airbnb had slow-walked the decision. Listings in Israeli settlements continued to be available on its site, and visitors could book them well into the future. In a January blog post, the company said it was working with experts to identify precise boundaries “and ensure that our technological solutions attend to the relevant details.”

Political and legal pressure kept mounting. Amnesty International was among those pressuring the company to go even further and ban listings in east Jerusalem. At the same time, Texas, Florida and Illinois said they would prohibit any state business with Airbnb because of its stance on the listings in the West Bank settlements.

Airbnb’s rivals,, Expedia and TripAdvisor, continued to offer properties in the settlements. TripAdvisor said it makes clear when properties are within Israeli settlements, and it uses the term “Palestinian Territories” to refer to the West Bank and other areas.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Today over 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, in addition to some 200,000 Israelis in east Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim both areas as parts of a future state.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City