Airbnb says it will remove property listings located in Israeli settlements!
This policy change by the Silicon Valley giant is an important win for Palestinian human rights, but it goes beyond that. This step sets a precedent for other tech companies to take greater responsibility for how their policies and practices affect human rights in various contexts.
Human rights groups have been working for years to engage Airbnb and raise awareness about the inherently discriminatory nature of allowing listings in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. Palestinian ID-holders are effectively barred from entering these settlements, while Israelis and foreigners are welcomed.
Airbnb’s decision comes on the heels of communication from Human Rights Watch about the impending publication of a new report and data visualizations to shine a spotlight on this issue. From March to July of this year, Human Rights Watch and Kerem Navot conducted original research to identify at least 139 Airbnb property listings in sixty-one Israeli settlements in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. Visualizing Palestine partnered to disseminate the findings via these visualizations.
View this visual on the Visualizing Palestine website, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
These visuals are also available in Arabic and Hebrew.
In the wake of this uplifting news, these visuals and the accompanying report contextualize why this win matters. Read more: Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land: Tourist Rental Listings in West Bank Settlements.
Upon learning of Airbnb’s decision, Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch, said:
“Airbnb’s decision to end its listings in Israeli settlements is an important recognition that such listings cannot square with its human rights responsibilities. For two years, Human Rights Watch has spoken with Airbnb about their brokering of rentals in West Bank settlements that are illegal under international humanitarian law...we urge other companies to follow suit.”