25 signatures reached
To: Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO
Airbnb: Stop renting homes in illegal Israeli settlements
Tech is not neutral. Airbnb is not simply a website connecting people with places to stay. Airbnb is the largest provider of accommodations in the world and, by allowing rentals in the occupied West Bank, is breaking international law. Airbnb should stop renting homes in illegal Israeli settlements.
Why is this important?
Ben & Jerry’s recently announced that they would no longer sell their products in occupied Palestinian territories — after years of pressure from advocates.¹ Their decision should prompt more corporations to take a principled stance and exit the territories, and Airbnb should be among the first, since they already made that decision years ago.
If Ben & Jerry’s won’t sell ice cream in illegal settlements, Airbnb shouldn’t rent homes there either.
In 2018, after years of intense campaigning by grassroots activists and an internal audit by Airbnb, the company announced they’d stop allowing rentals in the occupied West Bank.² The reaction was swift — and a barrage of lawsuits coerced Airbnb to backpedal on the decision five months later.³ When Airbnb announced the reversal they also signaled the company’s ambivalence when they stated:
“Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to nonprofit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”⁴
146 Palestinian NGOs issued a statement saying that they would refuse any funds from Airbnb and called for humanitarian groups from around the world to also refuse funds from rentals in the occupied West Bank.⁵ Funds too controversial for Airbnb to take shouldn’t be passed on to humanitarian groups with a commitment to human rights and international law.
In 2020, the UN published a list of 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements in occupied territories.⁶ Airbnb is among a handful of U.S. companies included. In response to the UN list, Human Rights Watch stated that “to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”⁶
Sign the petition telling Airbnb to stop pretending to toe the line. Donating fees from rentals does not absolve the corporation. By allowing rentals in occupied Palestine, Airbnb is breaking international law and facilitating war crimes.
1. “Ben & Jerry's Says It Will Stop Ice Cream Sales In Occupied Territories,” NPR, July 19, 2021 https://www.npr.org/2021/07/19/1018039737/ben-jerrys-says-it-will-stop-ice-cream-sales-in-occupied-territories
2. “Listings in Disputed Regions,” Airbnb Newsroom, November, 2019 https://news.airbnb.com/listings-in-disputed-regions/
3. “Airbnb Reverses Policy Banning Listings in Israeli Settlements in West Bank,” The New York Times, April 9, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/09/world/middleeast/airbnb-israel-west-bank.html
4. “Update on Listings in Disputed Regions,“ Airbnb Newsroom, April 9, 2019 https://news.airbnb.com/update-listings-disputed-regions/
5. “To Humanitarian Groups and NonProfits Receiving Airbnb Funds: Say No to Dirty Money,” Al-Haq, Nov. 19, 2019 https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/16195.html
6. “U.N. Publishes List of Firms Doing Business with Israeli Settlements,” The New York Times, February 12, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/world/middleeast/un-israeli-settlements-companies-list.html