It remains unclear where online vacation home rental giant Airbnb's policy on West Bank Jewish settlements stands, after contradictory statements yesterday. The only certain thing is that the 200 vacation homes on offer in Judea and Samaria are still listed on Airbnb's website.
Last month, Airbnb announced with great fanfare that, “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.”
The BDS movement greeted the news as a huge victory, while infuriated Israeli and Jewish groups began filing lawsuits for discrimination and setting up alternative websites to take business away from Airbnb.
The Israeli government lobbied Airbnb to back down and yesterday Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin met with Airbnb head of global policy and public affairs Chris Lehane. After the meeting, Levin announced triumphantly that Airbnb had backed down and would list the accommodation in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb in Israel put out a statement in Hebrew backing up Levin's words.
However, in English Airbnb issued a statement saying that, “The information published earlier today was inaccurate. Airbnb is developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders."
Meanwhile, accommodation in Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria is still being advertised by Airbnb.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 18, 2018
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