Palestine Legal issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed in Delaware against Airbnb over its decision to stop listing properties in illegal Israeli settlements. As Airbnb stated in a press release announcing the decision, “many in the global community...believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.” Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has written to the governors of five U.S. states asking them to “consider speaking out against the company’s decision, and taking any other relevant steps, including in relation to commercial dealings.”
Airbnb has every right to decline to list rental properties in Jewish-only settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in violation of international law. The only discrimination happening here is against Palestinians who are barred from living on and cultivating their own land.
We should encourage such ethical decisions, and understand that the legal attacks against them are part of a concerted effort to undermine the movement for Palestinian human rights. The Delaware lawsuit was filed by an organization that has links to the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, and has a history of trying to quash the movement for Palestinian rights through censorship campaigns and meritless legal threats and lawsuits.
The lawsuit is likely to be dismissed for lack of legal merit, not least of all because U.S. civil rights laws don’t apply in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. If they did, they would surely vindicate Airbnb’s decision to avoid facilitating the discrimination inherent in Israeli settlements, and provide a powerful avenue for Palestinian-Americans to demand justice in U.S. courts.