Airbnb Faces Class-Action Lawsuit In Israel After Dropping West Bank Listings

By November 30, 2018Class Action Lawsuits
The Irish Times reported on November 24, 2018 that an Airbnb host who lives in the West Bank outpost of Kida, between Ramallah and Nablus in the West Bank, has filed a class action lawsuit against Airbnb in the Jerusalem district court regarding Airbnb’s decision to remove listings in West Bank settlements from its website.  The class action lawsuit filed in Israel alleges that Israeli law forbids discrimination based on the place where you live, “and what Airbnb has done is by all means discrimination based on the place where you live.” The lawsuit contends that Airbnb’s removing or restricting the listings solely in the West Bank constitutes extreme, offensive and outrageous discrimination.
The Airbnb class action lawsuit, in which more than two hundred plaintiffs are expected to join, according to the plaintiff’s class action lawyer, alleges, in part: “As far as Airbnb is concerned, their clients can deny women or minorities to rent apartments from them, offer listings in war zones 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 Israel.”

Airbnb’s global head of policy and communications stated in response to a call to boycott Airbnb in Israel, “Israel is a special place and our over 22,000 hosts are special people who have welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests to Israel. We understand that this is a hard and complicated issue and we appreciate everyone’s perspective.”

In announcing the removal of West Bank listings from its website, Airbnb stated, “We are certainly not experts when it comes to historic conflicts in this region. Our team is struggling with this problem and we have been working hard to reach the right approach. We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”

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