Israel will seek legal steps against Airbnb, says minister

Airbnb must rescind its boycott of West Bank settlement listings, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said Wednesday at the opening of a 4-kilometer road in the West Bank, just outside of Jerusalem.

He warned that Israel would continue its legal pursuit of the global Internet rental company both in Israel and abroad, particularly in the United States. “As long as Airbnb does not rescind its policy of discriminating against the citizens of Israel, we will continue to promote steps against the company, both in the regulatory and legal spheres here in Israel and vis-à-vis our friends in the US and around the world,” Erdan said.

He spoke after one of Airbnb’s top executives, Chris Lehane, visited Israel, including the West Bank, in December.
He came to repair the damage done to the company’s ties with Israel, after it decided in November not to list settler rentals on its website.

At the time, he told Israeli officials that the company would review the decision. In the interim, he said, the company would not take any more steps to implement the policy.

Airbnb also issued a statement, explaining that it opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

The policy statement can still be found on the website, as can settler rental listings. However, the latter are more difficult to locate.
On Wednesday, Erdan said that the only acceptable response to Israel’s complaints is to rescind the policy.

“It is not enough that they came here, held a few meetings and declared that they are against the BDS [movement]. They have to prove it in deeds,” Erdan said.

“We won’t tolerate any form of boycott against Israeli citizens, not in Judea and Samaria and not anywhere else,” he said.

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