Nov. 27, 2018
- Under Airbnb’s newly announced policy, an American Jew with a rental property in the West Bank is barred from listing it for rent on the website. But an American Arab is welcome to list his home a few hundred meters away.
- Palestinian law forbidding real-estate deals with Jews carries a maximum penalty of death. Yet that openly racist policy doesn’t trigger Airbnb’s delisting policy.
- When Israel declared independence in 1948, all its Arab neighbors invaded immediately. Jordan occupied the West Bank and massacred or expelled every Jew in the area, took their homes and destroyed their synagogues. Israel only regained the West Bank after Jordan foolishly attacked again in 1967. Many Jews then returned, including to lands Jews had purchased before Israeli independence.
- Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian leadership in 1993, leaving all settlements – the new and returning Jewish communities – under complete Israeli control.
- Airbnb tried to ward off accusations by noting, “each situation is unique and requires a case-by-case approach.” But so far the only situation unique enough to warrant delisting is the one involving Jews.
- Airbnb’s capitulation underscores the need for Congress to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would bar U.S. firms from complying with UN boycotts of Israel, like they’re already prohibited from adhering to the Arab League’s boycott.
The writer, a director at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Israel, is a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law.